It is not often that Rafael Nadal explodes – off the court, anyway.
On Friday, shortly after winning a tough four-setter against Martin Klizan to reach the third round of the French Open, a title that is all but his own personal property, the Spaniard let loose his mounting frustrations at the weather, the schedule, the people organising the tournament — and women's tennis.
"I think everybody in this room knows that the schedule of yesterday [Thursday] was wrong," he said, referring to the postponement of his second-round match to Friday, after his third-round opponent, Fabio Fognini, had already played and was thus allowed to rest before Saturday's match.
"That's the real thing," Nadal continued. "I don't know if the director of the tournament, supervisors, guys who take the positions, they take a bad position two days ago, because when you make the schedule at 7pm in the afternoon, not 11am in the morning, you know what weather predictions you have for the next days.
"I cannot play third after men's and girls when my possible opponents play second after girls. That's not fair. And today I was playing almost three hours on court and my opponent was watching the TV in the locker room.
"So if you tell me that's fair, I say that's not fair. Only thing that I can do is be positive, smile and try to win my match and try to be ready for tomorrow. But this is not right. And I hope they accept the mistake, because girls plays best of three. For them it is a normal tournament. Even if they play grand slam, all the matches of their career, all the tournaments, they play best of three. There is no change. If they have to play two days in a row, is not a big deal. For us it's completely different.
"The excuse they told me was [Lukas] Rosol [Fognini's opponent in the second round] had to play doubles. I am sorry, but that's a joke. You have one more week to play doubles if you want to play doubles. Why do you want to protect a player who has to play doubles? So I'm going to write myself on the doubles draw then and I have the priority to play? I think that's... well, that's not the right excuse to make a schedule like this.
"I don't want to keep talking, because it seems like I am the bad guy saying that, but that's the real thing, and everybody here knows that's not right."
Roger Federer played it down the middle when asked to comment on Nadal's predicament.
"I understand that he's frustrated," the Swiss said shortly after beating Julien Benneteau in three fairly quick sets. "That's understandable — that is, he would like to play the second day like any other day. But I think 50% of the players couldn't play their match [on Thursday].
"Then it makes the situation very complicated for everybody. Some coaches coach two players, so maybe they say, 'Please don't make them play at the same time, [play] one in the morning,' [but] the other one doesn't want [that]. Anything goes. Anything is possible for all players, for all organisers.
"It's probably complicated. I think they didn't do it on purpose. You know, they do their best."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Mark Howard Photography