Djokovic enters $100 million dollar club, Serena plays catch-up

Wed Jun 1, 2016 2:31pm EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic had 100 million reasons to celebrate reaching the French Open quarter-finals on Wednesday -- albeit two days later than expected -- as players finally cleared the fourth-round backlog created by the fickle Parisian weather.

After relentless rain washed out all but two hours of play over the previous two days, under-fire Roland Garros organisers said such conditions had not been seen since 1873 as they frantically tried to play catch-up by staging 12 singles matches -- instead of just four quarter-finals as is the norm -- on day 11 of the sodden championships.

That allowed world number one Djokovic to become the first tennis player to bank $100 million in prize money after his 3-6 6-4 6-1 7-5 win over Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut tipped him over the magic number.

Having won a match that was originally scheduled for Monday, begun on Tuesday and completed on Wednesday, the 29-year-old Serb will have to play four days in succession if he is to reach Sunday's title showdown.

"I have the feeling I played three matches against him," a grinning Djokovic told the crowd after donning a yellow rain hat during his victory speech.

"Yesterday the match was interrupted three times and it wasn't easy coming here at 9 am and leaving at 7.30 or 8:00 pm.

"So that's the reason why we should have the roof here," added the Serb, who joined the likes of golfer Tiger Woods and boxer Lennox Lewis in the $100 million club.

However, rather than getting worked up about the French Open not having any court cover like the other three majors, it was the organisers' decision to make the players compete in misty rain on Tuesday that overshadowed Wednesday's on-court action.   Continued...

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros - Serena Williams of the U.S. v Elina Svitolina of Ukraine - Paris, France - 1/06/16. Serena Williams returns the ball. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol