The timing of the matches at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium has already been shifted to a more ‘comfortable’ evening (5 pm) slot but even a heavy spell of rain on Wednesday evening didn’t lessen the oppressive humidity. Just as hosts India were wrapping up their practice session for the day and the Spaniards ready to start theirs, the skies opened up for an hour-long shower.
Rafa Nadal-led Spaniards had to cut their two-hour long session down to an hour but even if rain hadn’t intervened, the visitors wouldn’t have lasted much longer on the court. Credit should be given to the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA), who had the drenched Centre Court ready for practice in less than an hour’s time.All four members of the Spanish squad -Nadal, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez and Marc Lopez -got off the blocks in a hurry but looked completely sapped just half an hour into the session.
Nadal, especially, didn’t look too happy at any point during practice. The `greasy’ court meant that the 14-time Grand Slam champion was constantly mishitting the ball. The only one looking comfortable out there was Nadal’s fellow southpaw Feliciano Lopez. Feliciano, who was ranked as high as No. 12 in the world last year, is not your typical Spanish player. The tall leftie has a big serve and soft hands at the net which also make him a very efficient doubles player. Out of his five ATP titles, Feliciano has won two each on grass and hard courts. Ferrer, on the other hand, is the quintessential clay-court scrapper and a terrific competitor. But even the 34-year-old Valencian looked jittery on Wednesday evening.
“It’s difficult and there is a lot of humidity. It is not easy to play tennis in these conditions. We played in similar conditions in the US Open in New York. Here, it’s a bit worse but we hope things will be little better come Friday,” a sapped Ferrer told TOI after the practice session.
Indian captain Anand Amritraj had earlier claimed that a morning start might have aided the hosts but after having spent a few days in the Capital is happy that the game starts in the evening. “With (Rohan) Bopanna pulling out, the burden on Saketh (Myneni) has increased quite a lot. He might have to play two matches in two days. It would have been tough on him with the morning start,” Amritaj said about Myneni.