PARIS (Reuters) - Rain returned to Roland Garros on Tuesday sending players and supporters scuttling for shelter after only 90 minutes of play.
Light rain in the morning meant none of the remaining first round matches started until 1330 local time (1130 GMT) and after a brief patch of brightness over Paris the green court covers were dragged back across the 20 clay courts.
The November-like weather conditions mean many players will not hit their first ball in anger at this year’s tournament until the fourth day as 10 singles ties had already been cancelled by tournament organizers.
The rainclouds returned too late to save 42-year-old Japanese player Kimiko Date-Krumm who showed her age in a 6-0 6-2 defeat by Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur.
Date-Krumm, who made her French Open debut 24 years ago in 1989 when 57 women in this year’s singles draw were not even born, lasted only 64 minutes on Court One.
“I guess, lucky for me I was able to finish the match before this last downpour came,” Stosur, runner-up in 2010, told reporters. “It was spitting a little bit when we went out there. You think, oh, are we going to start, or are we not?”
Only one other match was completed by mid-afternoon with Colombia’s Mariana Duque beating Czech Kristina Pliskova, although men’s 26th seed Grigor Dimitrov also got through to the second round after opponent Alejandro Falla retired.
Bad weather has become a feature of the French Open in recent years with last year’s men’s final between Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic being completed on Monday.
Djokovic was due to start his campaign later on Tuesday on Philippe Chatrier Court against Belgium’s David Goffin.
Despite the fact that the first round will now take at least four days to complete, however, organizers said they were not considering packing more matches into the made-for-TV opening Sunday in future years.
“At the moment it’s not under consideration, it’s not something that’s been talked about,” a tournament spokesman said.
Spectators only get a total refund if less than an hour of play is possible, while 50 per cent of ticket costs are reimbursed if play lasts between one and two hours.
No reimbursement is made if at least two hours of tennis are played. Roland Garros outlined plans for redevelopment on the current site this week with the centre court gaining a retractable roof by 2018.
The Australian Open and Wimbledon both have a sliding roof over their main showcourt.
Reporting by Julien Pretot, Martyn Herman and Toby Davis; Editing by Meadows and Pritha Sarkar