Tennis

Published: Tuesday May 27, 2014 MYT 1:42:07 AM
Updated: Tuesday May 27, 2014 MYT 1:42:07 AM

Djokovic makes new friend in first round win

PARIS (Reuters) - Second seed Novak Djokovic distracted the Roland Garros crowd but kept his focus as he made light work of Portuguese Joao Sousa to reach the second round of the French Open with a 6-1 6-2 6-4 win on Monday.

The Serbian clinked bottles with a ball boy he had invited to sit on his chair as the umpire was pondering whether to halt play again as light rain fell on Philippe Chatrier court.

"We had a nice chat. He's a tennis player, so I asked him how long he has been playing, and how he is enjoying his time as a ball kid," Djokovic told a news conference.

"It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the grand slams. But we waited for around 10 minutes in the pouring rain on the court, so I felt there was something I should do and make a new friend.

"He accepted the offer to sit down, which I didn't think he would do. He's very spontaneous little boy, and I hope I see him my next match."

While endearing himself to the Paris crowd, Djokovic was not entirely happy with the decision not to cover the court when the rain began to fall more heavily.

"In my opinion there are a few times today they maybe should have covered the court earlier," he explained.

"So I think the chair umpire should have made a decision earlier to take us off the court and cover the court.

"I'm talking for the court's sake, for a good condition, because it was a lot of rain.

"I know that on clay, of course, we can play with a certain level of rain, but still it's not that great for the court's condition."

The match had been first interrupted by rain when Djokovic, looking to win the only grand slam title missing from his collection, was 4-1 up in the first set.

It did not hinder Djokovic, who barely blinked when he conceded a late break and hit 37 winners to set up a meeting with local favourite Jeremy Chardy.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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