Even before Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had each played in their round of 16, the debate was raging behind the scenes and in the alleys of Roland-Garros. Or rather, the hour of the debates at which would be scheduled, Tuesday, May 31, the potential shock of the quarter-finals between the Serb, world number one, and the Spaniard, thirteen times winner. Was this match going to be played during the day and be broadcast by the public service? Or during the evening session, exclusive to Amazon’s video-on-demand service?
On the one hand, the historical broadcaster of the tournament, which allows the greatest number of people to watch a match guaranteed to promote tennis; on the other, the new broadcaster – which pays, according to The Team, fifteen million euros per edition, against a little less for France Télévisions – to whom the organizers promise, in principle, the best poster.
Monday, May 30 at midday, the decision fell: the 59e duel between the two men will be broadcast from 8:45 p.m. on Prime Video, but the match will be “accessible free of charge and without restriction, in France, on Prime Video, mobile and Web applications”, announced the French Tennis Federation (FFT), thus cutting short a controversy that would not have failed to swell.
“The Prime Video app is available on all IPTV services, so viewers can watch this game on their regular TV service. No registration or creation of an account will be necessary to follow this match. specifies the FFT in its press release.
Nadal “does not like to play at night”, Djokovic, if
Not sure, however, that the debate is completely over and France Télévisions the only big loser. Beyond its media reach, the challenge of the schedule is also sporting. “As a night session at the US Open or the Australian Open does not fundamentally change the playing conditions, on clay, it changes the speed of the ball enormously and the height of the rebound. It is a living surface that is no longer the same at night,” recalled Nicolas Mahut, questioned on Sunday by The Team, while putting pressure on the new tournament director, Amélie Mauresmo: “I think this decision will be a key marker of [sa] first year (…). »
When it comes to lineups, players have traditionally made their preferences known – usually easier to voice when you climb to the top of the leaderboard. Frowning, Rafael Nadal had proclaimed loud and clear what he thought, from Friday, May 27. “I don’t like playing on clay at night. The humidity is higher, the ball slower. Conditions can be very heavy when it’s cold. »
Sunday, after his painful victory against the Canadian Félix Auger Aliassime, he gave a layer, hoping perhaps to have the organizers by the feelings: “The game against Djokovic could be my last here. I know Roland-Garros by day. And I would prefer to play during the day,” said the Spaniard.
Nadal and his Serbian rival have each played a match at night: the first against the French Corentin Moutet in the second round, Djokovic against the Japanese Yoshihito Nishioka in the first round.
The Serb was not against the idea of replaying in the spotlight. ” Not bad. Generally, at night, during the Grand Slams, in all tournaments, the atmosphere is more electric, there is more energy, and the public comes into the match.he pointed out after his match against Nishioka.
The world number one knows that the Mallorcan left-hander’s lift is never as dangerous as on a sunny Central, where his ball squirts loud and clear. But when joining the quarters, Djokovic recalled that, if the players make their wishes known, “these requests are not always accepted. The tournament director, the television, the broadcasters, in the end, they are the ones who decide. You just have to adapt to that. »
These discussions would almost make us forget another controversial subject: in nine night sessions played since the start of the tournament (the last is scheduled for Wednesday 1er June), only a women’s match was scheduled there.