PARIS (Reuters) - Three-times Roland Garros champion Mats Wilander reflects on Day Five of the French Open for Reuters.
The Swedish former world number one is in the French capital soaking up all the action as a presenter for broadcaster Eurosport’s daily flagship show “Game, Set and Mats”.
Here the seven-times grand slam champion discusses with Reuters Sports Editor Ossian Shine the most poignant performances and memorable moments of Thursday’s action, and looks forward to Day Six of the clay court grand slam tournament.
Highlight of the Day: ”It was really interesting to see Andy Murray today - I mean, what we saw was a guy who just figured things out.
”He came out looking tired and flat, emotionally. He wasn’t hitting his backhand well at all, then as soon as the second set started he made adjustments.
”He started playing deeper, and that freed him up to hit through his backhand.
”You cannot play too close, you have to keep adjusting. Then he played great for two sets.
”He should have lost the fourth set, but that’s what happens with the top guys at the French Open. You only have to be a little bit better than your opponent on clay, and you can win three, four, five games in a row and pull away.
“You can’t do this on other surfaces. It is what we’ve been doing for 40 years on clay. The thing is, you can always break your opponent’s serve on this surface, you just need to be that little bit better on clay and you can really reel off games.”
Performance of the Day: ”Stan Warwinka had a tough, close game. You know, Stan likes rhythm, and he was not getting that.
”But when Stan is beating Dolgopolov in three sets, I mean come on he doesn’t get worse as a tournament progresses he gets better.
“Always in the early rounds there are a few threats, because he’s not always there emotionally. But when he gets up, these other guys... they do not want to play Stan.”
One to look out for tomorrow: ”The weather will make things interesting. For example the slower conditions and rain forecasted for Friday is not good news for Djokovic. He’s playing Diego Schwartzman who does not make too many mistakes.
”With it being slow and damp it is going to be impossible for Novak to hit the ball through his opponent.
”Also with Rafa, who plays Nikoloz Basilashvili. The slow court is good for Rafa mentally, and it’s bad for the other guy mentally.
“Of course Basilashvili will have his game plan, but it is like Mike Tyson said -- ‘Everybody has a game plan until they get punched in the face’. And that’s what it’s like against Rafa.”
Editing by Ed Osmond/Jeremy Gaunt