French Open: ‘Don’t give a dog to chew’: Tennis players complain about new balls in Roland Garros

“The ball is completely different,” defending men’s champion Rafael Nadal told reporters last week. “The ball is very slow and heavy. (There) is a very cold, slow condition.

“I don’t think (it’s) a good ball to play on clay, honestly. That’s my personal opinion. It’s not a good ball to play on clay courts.”

Cold temperatures mean that the impact of Nadal’s heavily spun forehand will not have as much of an impact on Roland-Geros soils.

Read: Nadal targets 13th French Open title
Nadal trains ahead of the French Open.

Britain’s Dan Evans, who lost to Kei Nishikori in five sets in the first round on Sunday, was in agreement with the 12-time French Open champion, saying he would not “give the dog to chew” some balls.

“I think balls are the biggest thing,” he said of challenging situations, while also acknowledging the cold.

“Maybe they got it a little wrong with the ball. It’s hard for the ball to go anywhere. In what month, September, October is it? That ball is a little heavy, I think.”

US Open champion Dominic Thiem also lamented the change, saying the babolat previously used in the Roland-Garros was appropriate for the topspin and its “favorite ball”.

But, not all players are against the switch, with world number five Daniel Medvedev saying the new balls suit his game.

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Evans played backhand during the defeat to Kei Nishikori at the French Open.

This year the French Open has moved between coronavirus epidemics since its usual May start date, meaning temperatures are colder than normal.

With the tournament underway on Sunday, the players had slipped into several levels.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka, who was among the victims of the conditions, complained to the match supervisor that she had “frozen” during her first-round match at Luar.

It was announced in November 2019 that the French Tennis Federation had signed a five-year partnership with Wilson, making the company the official ball of the French Open.

The announcement said the ball was “made for the famous clay courts of Roland-Garros” and Hans-Martin Ray, general manager of Wilson Racquet Sports, said the company was “committed to creating the best clay-court experience for players.”

The French Tennis Federation and Wilson did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.