PARIS: Novak Djokovic, bidding to win a first French Open and become just the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam, played a game of patience with the Paris rain on Tuesday and it paid off.
The world No. 1 only got onto Court Philippe Chatrier just after 6:30 p.m. after a marathon women’s match and a four-hour total rain stoppage left him kicking his heels.
But the top seed came out fired-up to beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5 to reach the second round.
“I warmed up five or six times because of the rain, then you have to adjust your tactics because of the damp conditions,” said Djokovic, who next faces Guido Pella of Argentina, the world No. 83.
Djokovic, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal in 2012, would have been wary of the challenge posed by Goffin, who made the last 16 in 2012 after coming through qualifying.
But the world No. 58 lacked the firepower to consistently trouble the world No. 1.
On a day when 13 matches of the 40 scheduled were held over until Wednesday, and three were uncompleted, it was troubled Australian Bernard Tomic who found himself at the center of attention during the cool and damp afternoon.
Tomic, 20, retired from his first round match against Victor Hanescu with a muscle tear.
The world No. 61 then launched a passionate defense of his father, and coach, John Tomic who is facing criminal charges in Spain after being accused of assaulting his son’s training partner.
“My dad is in Paris, he’s still my dad and he will remain my coach. I love him a lot,” said Tomic, who dropped the first two sets against Hanescu before quitting in the third to hand a 7-5, 7-6 (10/8), 2-1 win to his Romanian opponent.
John Tomic was banned from attending the tournament after he was accused of attacking Thomas Drouet, in Madrid on May 4.