May 29, 2017 / 8:41 PM / 2 years ago

Wilander hits out at French Open after 'premature finish'

PARIS (Reuters) - Three-times French Open champion Mats Wilander hit out at Roland Garros officials after the day’s highlight match on Monday between Alexander Zverev and Fernando Verdasco was halted early in the evening, leaving fans wolf-whistling and disappointed.

Mats Wilander of Sweden (L) and Andy Murray of Britain joke during an exhibition match held a day before the start of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris May 26, 2012. REUTERS/Nir Elias

The match was finely balanced at one set all when German Zverev and his more experienced opponent appeared to question the conditions in Paris, where drizzle had earlier fallen and the light was starting to fade.

The supervisor decided to call off the contest shortly after 8:30pm local time, leaving fans frustrated and feeling short-changed.

“I think it is quite ridiculous that they allowed them to stop it... with the players who made that decision,” Wilander told Reuters.

“At that time they could’ve played at least half an hour more... that could’ve been the end of the third set, a totally different match, yet now tomorrow the last match of the schedule will suffer.”

French Open organizers would not be drawn into a debate.

“The two players agreed to stop the match,” they said, when questioned about the decision.

Wilander, champion here in 1982, 1985 and 1988, said that of course Spaniard Verdasco had wanted to stop, but that in agreeing, Zverev had made a “rookie mistake”.

“He had all the momentum... the young guy should’ve just pushed on and insisted on playing.

“Thousands of people in the stadium missed out, we all missed out. (Verdasco’s) experience won through.

“The fans should’ve had more of a say. Nobody won that. Definitely, this helps Verdasco tomorrow. Tomorrow it is best of three.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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