Azarenka walks off during rain delay, wins easy

Victoria Azarenka and her opponent Danka Kovinic briefly walked off the court during a rain delay in their opening-round match at the French Open on Sunday.

Play was stopped after three games on Court Suzanne-Lenglen, and the players were instructed to stay on court. However, they both were unhappy with temperatures in the low 50s and made it clear they would rather wait indoors.

“I’m down to play whatever,” Azarenka said to an official while sitting under an umbrella on her chair. “You know I’m not complaining here, but this is getting a little bit ridiculous.”

The official then asked if she would be willing to wait for a few minutes, and the No. 10 seed was clear with what she wanted to do.

“No, I’m not waiting here a couple minutes because I’m cold. It’s 8 degrees. I live in Florida, I’m used to hot weather.”

She then walked over to Kovinic, and asked what she wanted to do.

“Do you want to wait on court?” she asked. “No? It’s ridiculous. It’s too cold. What’s the point? Sitting here like ducks.”

The two then left and play was suspended on the court.

They returned about 50 minutes later and Azarenka won the match 6-1, 6-2 and advanced to the second round. Rain is in the weather forecast for six of the next seven days in Paris.

Azarenka, the former World No. 1 who played in the US Open final earlier this month, had previously complained about the decision to allow a limited number of fans at Roland Garros.

“I don’t know why we’re trying something new because obviously we already had one Grand Slam in front of us [the US Open] where it seemed like things worked out well [with no spectators],” she said. “I guess we always need to try something new for no reason.”

Azarenka wasn’t the only player to take issue with the elements on Sunday.

Andreas Seppi, who lost in four sets to American Sebastian Korda, called the weather early in his match “a disaster.”

“I think the first hour the conditions were a disaster because it was still raining, it was windy and it was really cold,” Seppi said. “So I think it was not good to go on court to play the first hour at least. I think they should postpone the match at least for one hour.

“You’re here in a Grand Slam and everything, and trying to do your best. It was just, I think, messed up to go on court.”

The French Open was moved from its traditional spring dates because of the global coronavirus pandemic. Play got underway Sunday, and the tournament will run through Oct. 11.

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