Fri, 23 Oct 2020

Canada's Denis Shapovalov lost a five-hour epic at Roland Garros on Thursday before blasting the "trash" and "unacceptable" scheduling.

The highly-rated Canadian, who recently broke into the world top 10 for the first time, lost 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 8-6 to Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena, ranked a lowly 101.

Despite a draining second round clash, the 21-year-old Shapovalov fumed at organisers who had also scheduled him to play doubles with India's Rohan Bopanna later in the day.

"Scheduling is absolutely awful. It's just complete trash," said Shapovalov who was hoping to make the third round in Paris for the first time just weeks after his best run at the majors, a quarter-final appearance in the US Open.

"It's disappointing. I mean you're in a Grand Slam and I don't want to sound spoiled, but you expect at least some help from the tournament to help you compete.

"How am I supposed to come out and play doubles now after a five-hour match? It's a first round as well, they could have scheduled it way better, way easier, I mean it's not acceptable."

Shapovalov, the third top 10 men's seed to exit the tournament, twice served for the match on Thursday and at one point was just two points away from victory.

He ended the match having committed 106 unforced errors while coming to the net 103 times, a rare tactic on slow clay courts.

"It's impossible to hit a winner with these balls, so I figured I might as well come to the net because I'm just not going to sit there and play a 10-hour match," he said.

Shapovalov had made the semi-finals on clay in Rome on the eve of Roland Garros where it took Diego Schwartzman, the conqueror of Rafael Nadal in the Italian capital, to stop him in three sets.

"In Rome, I could hit big, I actually hit winners. Here it's just like the ball's not going anywhere. So it's just annoying that you have to be in that situation because it shouldn't be that heavy and that difficult."

Defending champion Nadal had made similar complaints about the conditions in Paris as well as the new balls before his first round match.

However, the Spaniard hasn't looked unduly troubled, coasting into the third round without dropping a set.

Shapovalov also aimed a broadside over the security at the players' hotels in Paris which are intended to be bio-secure in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Players and their entourages are supposed to only leave the hotels to compete and practice.

"There is no bubble," claimed Shapovalov. "You can leave the hotel, you can go to the city, there's no problem, there's nobody stopping you. New York (which operated a 'bubble' for the US Open) was done way better."

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