Rafael Nadal thinks that the French Open organisers are putting players in danger by scheduling late-night matches and subjecting them to low autumn temperatures. Nadal spoke up after reaching the semi-finals at Roland Garros in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. He concluded a straight sets victory over Jannik Sinner, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-1.

The quarter-final match between Nadal and the Italian teenager did not start until 10:30 pm on Tuesday night. The Spaniard won in straight sets but the match still finished at 1:30 am. By this time, the temperature had dropped to around 12 degrees (53F).

Speaking in a press conference after the match, Nadal said that he does not understand why so many matches were scheduled at Court Philippe Chatrier. This meant that the later matches were then played when the court had become very cold.

"I know footballers play under these conditions, but they are all the time moving," he said. "We stop, we come back, we stop on the changeovers. I think this is a little bit dangerous for the body with these very heavy conditions."

Nadal and Sinner's match was pushed back very late after Diego Schwartzman an Dominic Thiem took five hours to complete their quarter-final clash. Schwartzman won 7-6 (7/1), 5-7, 6-7 (6/8), 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, and booked a date against Nadal in the semis. The victory is considered to be an upset, taking into consideration the fact that Thiem had been the runner-up to Nadal in the last two years.

While Nadal remains the favourite to win the match against Schwartzman, it may be remembered the it was Argentine who eliminated the "King of Clay" just a few weeks ago at the Italian Open. Schwartzman will be the underdog but he will be coming to the semi-finals fresh from a victory against Nadal in Rome.

If Nadal makes it through to the final match, he will be aiming to lift a record 13th French Open title. Standing in his way on the other side of the draw is Novak Djokovic, who has not lost a single competitive match in 2020. The world number one will be playing his quarter-final against Pablo Carreno Busta tonight. The winner of that match will face either Andrey Rublev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semis.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal poses with the Coupe des Mousquetaires after winning the men's 2019 French Open final AFP / Philippe LOPEZ