PARIS — Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova successfully dealt with the wet weather and their opponents Monday at the French Open.
Both former No. 1 players advanced to the second round at Roland Garros, playing through rain and rain delays, while current No. 1 Rafael Nadal finished off his match in the sunshine.
Djokovic beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 despite being broken three times, including while serving for the match for the first time.
The second-seeded Serb was leading 4-1 when rain halted play on Court Philippe Chatrier, but it restarted about an hour later.
“Very heavy conditions. The court is not that great, in a great condition, at this moment,” Djokovic said. “But of course, considering the amount of the rain that we had in last four or five days, it is not easy for people to maintain the court in the right state. They are doing their best.”
In the second set, a short shower stopped play for only a few minutes. Djokovic, wearing a white rain jacket, used the time to entertain the crowd by chatting with a ball boy and letting the youngster sit alongside him on the bench.
At one point, Djokovic grabbed the umbrella out of the ball boy’s hand and in return gave him a racket. Then Djokovic handed him a bottle of Perrier, and the two clinked bottles before taking a sip.
“We had a nice chat. He’s a tennis player, so I asked him how long he’s playing, and how he’s enjoying his time as a ball kid,” Djokovic said. “It was a nice, fun time, something unusual for the Grand Slams.”
Djokovic can complete a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open.
Nadal has already won a record eight French Open titles, but he is looking to become the first man to win five times in a row in Paris.