Djokovic was beaten by Thiem (Picture: AFP/Getty)Novak Djokovic bemoaned the ‘hurricane’-type conditions he was forced to compete in against Dominic Thiem, although he was quick to praise the Austrian fourth seed for his terrific display.
The world No. 1 was denied a second ‘Novak Slam’ at the penultimate hurdle as Thiem battled past him in a dramatic four hours and 13 minutes match that spanned across two days.
Djokovic, the top seed, was visibly frustrated by conditions on Friday evening in Paris and called the tournament supervisor onto court in the opening set.
Play was eventually suspended for the night but Djokovic was unimpressed with being forced to spend a decent period of his 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5 loss in some of the ‘worst’ conditions he’s ever played in.
‘Obviously when you’re playing in hurricane kind of conditions, you know, it’s hard to perform your best,’ he said.
‘It’s really just kind of surviving in these kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play, you know, one ball more than your opponent in the court.
Thiem fought his way into the final (Picture: EPA)‘That’s what it felt like playing yesterday, to be honest. It is what it is. You know, I played great tennis, I think, throughout most of the clay court season. And here I didn’t drop a set until semis.
‘As I said, look, playing against Dominic, you cannot expect, you know, and always hoping that you can win and win in straight sets, but it’s highly likely that it’s going to be close match as it was.
‘As I said, I don’t want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss. I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him.’
Asked again about the weather, he added: ‘One of the worst conditions I have ever been part of. That’s all I can tell you.
‘There is no rules. What I was explained yesterday on the court in the first set when I asked the supervisor, he came on the court and he said as long as there are no flying objects coming to the court, we’re good.
It wasn’t to be for Novak Djokovic (Picture: AP)‘I didn’t know that umbrella is not a flying object, which flew in in the first game of the match, but that’s their decision. I guess they know tennis better.’
Jim Courier had been critical of play being suspended on Friday night, with an hour of sunshine beaming down on Philippe-Chatrier after the decision to call it a day, claiming the decision ‘stinks’.
But Djokovic was cagey on what reason organisers had given him to explain their decision.
Asked twice, he simply replied: ‘I don’t know. You can ask them.’
Djokovic was on a 26-match winning streak at Grand Slam level since losing a quarter-final in Paris to Italy’s Marco Cecchinato.
Nadal will be well rested for the final (Picture: REX)It was thought he could have a shot at taking down 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in Sunday’s final, but instead it will be last year’s runner-up Thiem who will get a crack at the Spaniard.
‘I mean, look, there is always something large at stake when you’re one of the top players of the world and play in the biggest tournaments. It’s not any different this time,’ Djokovic added.
‘I don’t think I have done too much wrong, you know, to be honest, in the entire tournament. This match was always going to be tough because Dominic is a fantastic player on clay, in general, but especially on clay.
‘Yeah, it’s just unfortunate, you know, these kind of matches, one or two points decide a winner.’
Thiem roared on to victory (Picture: REUTERS)Thiem was certainly delighted to get over the line, saying in his on-court interview: ‘It was an amazing match. Actually my first five set match in my life at Roland Garros and it’s good for a start this one.
‘And as you said I’m here in the semi finals with maybe the three best players of all time so every single time to beat one of them is amazing. They all won more than 15 grand slams so of course it was unbelievable for me today.’
On the challenge of facing Nadal ahead, he added: ‘I think all the time if someone reaches the final here, it’s against Rafa.
‘No, I mean, it was an amazing experience last year and I try everything to be better this year. He’s the favourite of course going in his 12th final.
‘For me it’s only the second but I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, to letting everything out on the court again and we’ll see.’