French Open 2022: Night scheduling of Djokovic-Nadal blockbuster may tilt the scales in the Serb’s favour

Following his third-round victory at Roland Garros this year, Novak Djokovic stated unequivocally his choice for a potential quarterfinal match versus Rafael Nadal. "All I'll say is that Rafa and I may make completely different requests," the Serb explained. 

The scheduling of the year's biggest showpiece tennis match has been called into question, as it can be quite important in determining a favourite. Djokovic prefers the slower and cooler circumstances of the night, whereas Nadal prefers to play during the day. In fact, the Spaniard believes that clay court tennis should never be played at night. "I dislike clay night sessions." "I am pretty clear about that," he told reporters after his third-round victory.

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The fact that the 13-time French Open winner prefers hot summer weather contributes to his domination on clay. Topspin-heavy groundstrokes from the Spaniard bounce very high off the claycourts in the sun at fierce speeds, allowing him to build points at his own time. However, humidity settles in at night and moistens the surface. The ball picks up moisture and does not bounce as high, preventing Nadal from dictating proceedings from the baseline with his groundstrokes. This will most likely allow Djokovic to move up to the baseline and use his flatter groundstrokes and diversified arsenal to steal time from his opponent.

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