US Open diary: Day 10
Originally published on: 08/09/11 00:35
There is only one story today, and for the second day in succession, it’s a real shame to have to write about the weather and not the tennis.
The day session was cancelled at 5:30pm after play had earlier been suspended after just 15 minutes of action. Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal went to the referee’s office after play was suspended at 12.45pm to make their views heard, arguing that they had been unreasonably asked to start their matches when the courts were still wet. As it transpired, their matches were not resumed.
It was then decided that the women’s quarter-finals would take place simultaneously during the night session. All of the women in the last eight were seen on court prior to the start of the night session discussing conditions – player power appears to have wrestled control here at the US Open. The women had three concerns; that they had already been at the Billie Jean Center for several hours; that the courts would be dry and safe by the time they started; and that their matches may be started and then interrupted.
Serena Williams and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova went on court at 7.30pm and promptly went off again fifteen minutes after a few minutes warm up and a few minutes sitting on their chairs under umbrellas as the New York mist (light rain) returned. The other six players never went out on court; they simply remained in the player holding area. After the events of the day, it is unsurprising that the tournament organisers seemed very cautious and the women have the luxury of still being on schedule, at the moment.
At 8.15pm the USTA announced their decision to cancel the night session as the forecast for the evening suggested no clear periods of weather.
The scheduling challenges facing Jim Curley, the Tournament Director are huge. Having made the decision to play the women tonight, the men in the bottom half of the draw who have still to play their fourth round matches seem to be disadvantaged compared to the four who are already in the quarter-finals. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, for one, will be delighted to have an extra day to recover for his clash with Roger Federer after his five-set match against Mardy Fish.
There is plenty of debate about which player the scheduling will now favour. Will it be the big servers who can win cheap points and potentially get off court in three sets and not five? The main issue brewing is what happens beyond today. The weather forecast for Thursday is not good with a 60% chance of rain.
Also gathering momentum in discussions here is the need for the USTA to provide cover for the courts here. Commenting on events today Novak Djokovic said that as one of the four biggest tournaments, the USTA “should consider the roof.” He went on to say that it is frustrating for everyone who has to spend hours and hours in the locker room (not to mention the press room!)
This is certainly not the first time rain has affected the US Open, and it’s becoming customary for the men’s final to be played on a Monday. As for now, how much play will we get through on Thursday and how well will the men stuck in the fourth round cope with the prospect of playing four matches in four days.