With the local curfew just minutes away, authorities announced that fans would be able to remain in the stands throughout the duration of the fiercely contested French Open semifinal match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on Friday night.
Djokovic had just won the third set in a tiebreak to take a 2-1 match lead when the announcement was made to the crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier. It was met with enthusiastic cheers followed by a “Thank you, Macron” chant referring to France’s president, Emmanuel Macron.
The announcement stated the decision was made due to the “completely exceptional nature of the circumstances.”
Play was halted during Djokovic’s quarterfinal match against Matteo Berrettini on Wednesday to accommodate the nationwide 11 p.m. curfew. Many fans refused to leave and chanted, “”We’ve paid, we’ll stay.” Both players were brought off court as those in the crowd were escorted out. Play resumed after a break lasting over 20 minutes in front of a nearly empty stadium.
It was believed a similar scenario would have occurred Friday if Djokovic and Nadal were still on the court.
Djokovic was looking for his first win on clay over Nadal, the 13-time French Open champion, since 2016.
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