Djokovic: French conditions 'one of the worst'

PARIS -- Novak Djokovic said the conditions at this year's French Open were "one of the worst" he's experienced, but he stopped short of saying those conditions were a factor in his five-set semifinal loss against Austria's Dominic Thiem on Saturday at Roland Garros.

Within minutes after Thiem's 6-2, 3-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-5 victory, Djokovic was peppered by reporters with questions about the weather delays here over the past four days. With the Thiem-Djokovic match tied at one set apiece and Thiem up a break 3-1 in the third set, their semifinal was called and pushed to Saturday, with a start time of noon local time, ahead of the women's final between Ashleigh Barty and Marketa Vondrousova.

"[Friday] was one of the worst conditions I have ever been part of. That's all I can tell you," Djokovic said.

After two previous stoppages, officials decided to push the match back because "playing conditions were becoming increasingly difficult," with wind gusts of up to 55 mph. Before the match was called for the day, Djokovic had asked for a tournament official to explain the wind rules to him.

"There [are] no rules," Djokovic explained when asked about the interaction after Saturday's match. "What I was explained [Friday] on the court in the first set when I asked the supervisor, he came on the court and he said, 'As long as there are no flying objects coming to the court, we're good.'

"I didn't know that an umbrella is not a flying object, which flew in in the first game of the match, but that's their decision. I guess they know tennis better."

When play resumed on Saturday, there was another rain delay, this time with Djokovic serving, at deuce, down 1-4 in the fifth set. Djokovic said the playing environment was better when the match continued just over an hour later. The world No. 1 rallied to even the fifth set at 5 before ultimately losing the match, snapping Djokovic's streak of 26 consecutive major match wins.

"Obviously, when you're playing in hurricane-kind of conditions, it's hard to perform your best," Djokovic said. "It's really just kind of surviving in these kind of conditions and trying to hold your serve and play one ball more than your opponent in the court.

"I don't want to point out some reasons or find excuses for this loss," Djokovic said of the conditions and the match overall. "I mean, he took it, he won it, and well done to him. ... This match was always going to be tough because Dominic is a fantastic player on clay, and in general, but especially on clay."

Thiem faces 11-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal in the men's final for the second straight year. Weather permitting, play is set to begin at 3 p.m. local time.