Paris weather ‘too cold’ for comfort
(Agence France-Presse) - September 29, 2020 - 12:00am

Roland Garros got underway in the “ridiculous” chill and damp of Paris on Sunday with Victoria Azarenka walking off court, complaining that it was “too cold” to play, before Stan Wawrinka brushed aside fellow three-time major winner Andy Murray in the day’s marquee clash.

The French Open, which was pushed back from its traditional May-June slot due to the coronavirus, began in steady drizzle and temperatures struggling to reach 10 degrees (50F).

It was all too much for Azarenka, 31, who left the almost deserted Court Suzanne Lenglen after just three games.

“I don’t see the point of sitting on the court when it’s eight degrees,” fumed the two-time major winner.

She complained: “We are sitting like ducks. It’s too cold, it’s eight degrees, I live in Florida. This is getting a little ridiculous. I’m not waiting,” she said before storming off to seek shelter.

She returned to complete a 6-1, 6-2 win over Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, playing in black leggings and a tracksuit top.

That echoed fears expressed by 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who said the conditions combined with a new heavier ball could cause elbow and shoulder problems for players.

On Court Simonne Mathieu, Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens and Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan twice left the arena after also halting play due to the slippery conditions.

Murray, in his first clay court match since losing to the Swiss star in 2017, may have wished it had remained shut as 16th seed Wawrinka swept to a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 win.

On a grim day for Britain, ninth seed and 2019 semifinalist Johanna Konta was knocked out by teenage sensation Coco Gauff, having committed 41 unforced errors.

The 16-year-old American, making her debut in the main draw having been the junior champion just two years ago, eased to a 6-3, 6-3 win despite serving up 12 double faults.

Top seed and 2018 champion Simona Halep swept into the second round with a 6-4, 6-0 victory over Spanish world No. 70 Sara Sorribes Tormo.

PARIS ROLAND GARROS
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