Nadal in 'bizarre' French Open snub

Rafael Nadal will be starting his French Open campaign on Roland Garros' secondary court, a move derided by fans on social media.

Story highlights

  • First round of the French Open begins at Roland Garros
  • Federer, Isner, Berdych, Tsonga, Raonic all through
  • eight time champ Nadal begins tomorrow, on second court
  • Furious reaction on social media by fans

There were no shocks in the first round of the French Open Sunday, except for one: eight time champion Rafael Nadal will begin the defense of his title in the secondary Suzanne Lenglen court, a move dubbed as "bizarre" by one player.

As world number one and reigning champion, not to mention arguably the greatest player to ever grace the clay of Roland Garros, Nadal would have expected to start his campaign -- a match against American wild card Robby Ginepri -- on the Philippe Chatrier court.

But organizers decided to host Novak Djokovic versus Joao Sousa and Stan Wawrinka versus Guillermo Garcia-Lopez instead, a move which has prompted a furious reaction on social media, and amongst some players.

"That's really bizarre," John Isner told AFP, after the American had needed two tiebreaks to beat tough Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.

"I mean, how many times does the guy have to win the tournament to be able to have his first match on Chatrier?"

Sunday's matches saw Roger Federer play in his record 58th consecutive grand slam. It was easy pickings for the 33 year old who beat Slovakia's Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.

French Open champs 25 years on

    Just Watched

    French Open champs 25 years on

French Open champs 25 years on 03:04
La próxima meta de Rafa Nadal

    Just Watched

    La próxima meta de Rafa Nadal

La próxima meta de Rafa Nadal 02:34
Tennis legends' surprising comebacks

    Just Watched

    Tennis legends' surprising comebacks

Tennis legends' surprising comebacks 01:41

Sixth seed Tomas Berdych also won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, against the Canadian Peter Polansky.

Another Canadian, exciting young prospect Milos Raonic who came close to shocking Djokovic at the Rome Masters recently, had a slightly tougher time beating Australia's Nick Kyrgios 6-3, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

World number one Serena Williams began her campaign with a simple 6-2, 6-1 victory against Alize Lim of France whilst sister Venus beat Switzerland's Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-1.

The action now moves on to Monday for Nadal and Djokovic.

"It's a big court, there is television, so you can put it everywhere, you know, in the world," said French number two Jo-Wilfried Tsonga when asked about Nadal's court allocation.

"I hope it's okay for him."


    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.