Daniil Medvedev US Open 2021

Paris supremo responds to Medvedev ‘slow court’ comments

Director of the Paris Masters Guy Forget has replied to World number two Daniil Medvedev who claims that the courts used at Paris-Bercy were ‘too slow.’

During the tournament, Russian US Open champion Medvedev had raised concerns that the speed of the courts were slower than usual, saying “this year, if you look at the matches and the way they are playing, [it is] super slow for indoor hard courts, especially for Bercy, which is one of the fastest tournaments of the year. I want to say too [it is] slow for indoor hard courts.

“We have clay, we have outdoor hard courts that can be slow. Indoor hard courts is not made to be slow. So I don’t know why they try to invent things and make these balls [that slow down play]. I have no idea why, because last year was not the case.”

Tournament director Guy Forget replied to these claims prior to the Paris Masters final between World number one Novak Djokovic and Medvedev. An enthralling match which saw Djokovic beat Medvedev 4-6 6-3 6-3 to avenge his US Open final defeat.

After a conversation with 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, Forget decided to make the courts faster. He then outlined a number of factors that could affect the speed of the ball, such as the components which make the courts and the materials of the balls themselves.

“This subject matters for me. Four years ago, I pioneered an acceleration of the court. The courts had became too slow in Paris. I remember a chat about this with Roger (Federer). We had to go faster.

“So I discretely asked Javier Sanchez (CEO of GreenSet Tennis) to accelerate the court. It was much faster, the HawkEye confirmed. Some players noticed, even if I asked Javier to keep silent. After that, London asked to have the same speed for the ATP Finals.

“From this point, we kept the same composition, the same wooden ground support, the same resin, the same silica; silica being the sand which allows the surface to be abrasive and more or less quick,” Forget stated.

“What I can say is that the Centre Court is set two days after courts one and two. And every new day of competition leads to a one percent acceleration, so you have a gap between these courts. Also, the Centre Court is much bigger so the ball doesn’t fly the same way.”

Regarding the tennis balls, the French director also referenced that the rubber used may have changed due to a shortage of the raw materials.

“Another thing is that the ball has a big influence on the speed of the game. In Vienna and Saint-Petersburg, one of the tournaments used faster balls, so the players could feel a difference.

“Concerning the ball, we know also that the rubber of tennis balls might have changed in the last few months because of some shortage of raw materials worldwide. Some players tell me the balls aren’t the same compared to six months ago.”

Forget also mentioned that different players recognise different aspects and are extremely sensitive to any change in conditions.

“With Medvedev and others, we talk about players who are highly-sensitive to any change, who’d like to master every parameter in the competition. So some say it’s slower, others say it’s faster, others like Novak (Djokovic) say that the ball goes fast if you smash it well.

“When Medvedev speaks, you hear it louder of course. But I think that he if he “suffers” the slowness of the court in final in the same way he suffered in his brilliant semi-final against Zverev, he’ll know that at the end of the day, he can cope with it,” Forget retorted.