One full day of play lost due to rain is still bearable, but when play rained out today it gets a bit frustrating. After play rained out completely on Tuesday, yesterday there were only a few minutes of play of men’s fourth round action. We are heading into Thursday and the men’s fourth round has not been completed yet. This means the bottom half will have to play four five set matches in four days. And that is if there isn’t more rain, which is highly unlikely. Rain has been forecast until Saturday, although the weather is supposed to improve every day. I mean this is getting embarrassing for the USTA. When will the US Open get a roof? The Australian Open already have two retractable roofs, and they are planning to build a third one soon. Wimbledon now has a roof on center court. The only other slam that doesn’t have a roof is the French Open.
The roof is not such a big issue in Paris though as the surface doesn’t get slippery from rain and there seems to be less rain in Paris than New York. Today when the men’s fourth round matches were brought out there was complaints that the courts were not completely dry yet, to the point that Nadal, Murray, and Roddick made an official complaint about it to the organizers. The problem with building a roof at the US Open is that Arthur Ashe stadium is so massive. It is estimated that building a roof over the stadium will cost around $200 million. Clearly bigger is not always better, as Americans seem to believe. Whether they are going to rebuild Ashe stadium or put roofs over Grandstand or Armstrong, something has to be done. I think three out of the last five US Opens has been rain interrupted to the point that the final had to be played on Monday.
Then there is the scheduling issue. The US Open is the only slam where the semis and final are played on two consecutive days, which is a disadvantage to the winner of the second semi-final since he has less time to recover. This is of course all motivated by money, because on Saturday people don’t work as much and thus more people can watch the tennis. They call it ‘Super Saturday’, but I prefer to call it ‘Stupid Saturday’. It is no wonder players like Nadal complains that the players don’t feel protected. It seems to be all about the money while the players come a distant second. Can you imagine how tired the players will get from having to play four five set matches in four days, not to mention injuries it can cause? Without at least one day of rest somewhere the level of the players won’t be the same either.
The top half of the draw now clearly has an advantage, which includes Roger of course. Roger’s quarter final match against Tsonga is now scheduled for tonight on Ashe again. If he gets to finish his match and win, then he will have Friday off. I think it is good that Roger is scheduled to play at night again, but I doubt it he will play. The forecast is only slightly better for today, with things clearing up somewhat in the evening. And since Roger is the last match I doubt he will play. This means he could potentially have to play three days in a row. But whatever happens now the top half of the draw has an advantage. This isn’t necessarily that bad since I think the winner is going to come from the top half anyway. I think the winner will be either Roger or Djokovic. Whoever makes the final from the bottom half is probably not the favorite to win.
Nadal has not been in good form of late and Murray is a choker in slam finals. So I think the winner will be decided in the top half. Djokovic is not losing to Nadal or Murray and Roger neither if he gets past Djokovic. I think in a Fedal final Roger would still be the slight favorite. Personally I don’t think Nadal will make the final, but if he does then it will be an ideal opportunity for Roger to get a win over him in a slam final. But to get back to the post topic, rain has clearly wreaked havoc with the US Open schedule. They simply have to get a roof. In the mean time Jim Curly, the tournament director, have said that they intended to finish the tournament on time, and that he did not rule out playing two rounds in one day to finish on time:
Jim Curley, the Open’s tournament director, said that officials intended to finish the tournament on time. If the men’s fourth-round matches finish Thursday, he said, such a time frame remains realistic.
Curley did not rule out having either the men or women play twice in the same day — unthinkable as that might be. He also said men’s matches would remain best-of-five-sets, even if they play four matches in four days.
“It’s fair for all the players,” he said. “They’re all in the same situation. I don’t think it’s a safety issue. I think it’s a fitness issue.”
WTF??? Two five set matches in one day? This tournament has become a farce. I don’t know how on earth they want to finish the tournament on time. They just can’t let the players play four days in a row, never mind two rounds in one day. The situation has become an embarrassment to the so called greatest city in the world. The US Open is fast becoming the worst slam in the world. I don’t know what they are gonna do but it is clear that something has to be done. Maybe they will finally wake up if it rains for the next three days as well. No one is happy. Us the viewers are unhappy because this is one of our favorite times to watch tennis in the year, and the situation leaves us with a bad taste in the mouth. The players are not happy because they have to wait around all day to get on court and they don’t feel protected.
I don’t know much about the business side of things but I am sure the TV channels are not happy with this either. I really hope that the USTA finally wakes up after this year’s disaster and do something.