French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal blasts Philippe Chatrier Court after surviving scare against Simone Bolelli
Rafae Nadal said: 'The court is more slippery than usual and I slid a lot when I started off or when I moved to another side, and it was quite complicated.'
Paris: Rafael Nadal racked up his 80th win at the French Open on Tuesday as the 10-time champion defeated Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (9) to reach the second round, but then blasted the showpiece Philippe Chatrier Court for being too slippery.
World number one Nadal had been two sets up but 0-3 down in the third when rain caused the tie to be suspended late Monday.
He quickly levelled at 3-3 on Tuesday and saved four break points in the eighth game before saving four set points.
Nadal eventually claimed the match on a third match point when Bolelli dumped a forehand into the net.
But he was far from happy with the clay on Chatrier, the court where he has only lost twice in his career.
"The court is more slippery than usual and I slid a lot when I started off or when I moved to another side, and it was quite complicated," said the Spaniard.
"There are no excuses. This is what I felt. If you look at the images on television, you can see that there are many more whiter zones than other years, because there are little pebbles underneath, and that's why you don't have the proper grip on the court."
The top seeded Nadal, bidding for an 11th title in Paris and his 17th major, next faces Argentina's Guido Pella for a place in the last-32.
With rivals such as former champion Djokovic and the dangerous Dominic Thiem in the other side of the draw along with second seed Alexander Zverev, Nadal is being widely tipped to cruise to an 11th title in Paris.
But despite having wrapped up his 11th titles on clay in Monte Carlo and Barcelona as well as an eighth in Rome, 31-year-old refuses to get too far ahead of himself.
"If you get complacent or too confident with yourself, for sure you won't be happy," said Nadal whose only loss on clay this year came against Thiem in the Madrid Masters quarter-finals.
"I was able to do all these results because I respect the sport, I respect every opponent, and I respect the competition every day.
"That's the reason I have success, is because I go every day on court knowing that I can win, that I can lose, and that's the sport. So anything can happen."
French Open 2021: Kei Nishikori says he feels like he’s ‘played five matches already’ after winning back-to-back five-setters
Nishikori needed four hours to see off Russian 23rd seed Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier. In the first round, he also needed four hours to beat Italian qualifier Alessandro Giannessi.
Despite Monday's match being played in bright sunshine and in temperatures of 25 degrees Nadal was baffled as to why the lights inside Court Philippe Chatrier were switched on.
French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic defeats 13-time champion Rafael Nadal to set up final against Stefanos Tsitsipas
In their 58th career clash, Djokovic triumphed 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 and stays on course to capture a 19th major and become the first man in over 50 years to win all four Slams twice.