From the moment it became known that Roland Garros 2020 It was going to be held between the end of September and the beginning of October, rivers of ink began to flow speculating on how that date change could affect Rafael Nadal and the main candidates to dethrone him from the Parisian Grand Slam. On many occasions, a lack of conceptual clarity is perceived when establishing how cold, heat or humidity affects clay courts and, therefore, in the game. If in a previous article we analyzed how this new Roland Garros was going to be, taking into account factors such as playing with artificial light or having fewer hours of light, it is time to influence the way in which weather conditions affect the slopes and who benefits the most in each case.
The new celebration at the end of September changes the weather conditions and adds to a series of innovations in this 2020.
Something that tennis players repeatedly refer to is how court conditions change between day and night. It is something that usually happens in all tournaments, but on clay it becomes more palpable and in events like Rome, especially. The tournament is usually played between the end of April and the beginning of May and it is common to see how hot it is during the day, while at night the temperatures drop abruptly. On very few occasions Nadal has been seen competing on the night shift. The ideal conditions for the Balearic Islands are always hot and low humidity, since the track is much faster; the bounce of the ball is higher, its topspin effect does much more damage to its rivals and its speed to move around the court gives it a great advantage.
What happens on clay when it’s cold and wet is that both the ball and the court get heavier. These conditions favor tennis players whose style of play is more direct and who use flat shots with recurrence. Having an innate ability to accelerate the ball without the need to print much spin is key since it costs much more to move the ball, its bounce is lower and, therefore, the topspin shot by Nadal or Thiem loses effectiveness. The Spaniard fell to Wawrinka in Rome 2015 on a cold and wet night, and even at Roland Garros he has suffered with these conditions, as against Diego Schwartzman in 2018.
He ATP Masters 1000 Rome 2020 It seemed like a preparation for Paris with these meteorological factors as protagonists, but the fact is that the temperatures are being very high in the Italian capital and, as they pointed out Karolina Pliskova and Nadal himself in press conferences, the track is faster than in previous editions. However, it is expected that in Paris the cold and humidity will be the protagonists. In the weeks in which the tournament is held, from September 27 to October 11, the sun will set around 7:00 p.m. local time, so the incidence of the sun will be much lower throughout the day than in June , when the tournament is usually played.
It wouldn’t be weird Rafael Nadal request the organization to play most of its matches at noon, in order to avoid night-time conditions on the track, which would increase the cold and humidity, making the speed of the ball and the court lower and harming his style of play greatly. Novak Djokovic can be adapted to all conditions by having a more neutral game, while at Dominic Thiem He is interested in the same thing as the Spanish, although his greater ability to give power to his blows makes me feel somewhat less the effects of adverse weather.
Players like Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Roberto Bautista or Andrey Rublev, as well as natural hitters like Milos Raonic or Karen Khachanov, they would be greatly benefited by the proliferation of more autumnal conditions at Roland Garros 2020. We will have to be very attentive to the evolution of the weather during those two weeks since the ATP Masters 1000 Rome 2020 will not be able to become a reference due to the high temperatures of the whole week.