herald

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Stars feeling flushed out

TENNIS: USTA refute players' claims of dangerous conditions on court

THE US Open was washed out for the second day in a row yesterday, leaving organisers scrambling to clear a backlog and appease players at Flushing Meadows.

US Tennis Association (USTA) officials reluctantly cancelled all six men's single matches, including four fourth-round clashes originally scheduled for the previous day, after just 16 minutes of play.

They left open the possibility of playing the four women's quarter-finals in the evening session, but they too were cancelled because of persistent drizzle from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, just as the players were about to warm-up on court.

“It was definitely misting out there and with my luck I would have broke my neck and I was not up for that today,” said Serena Williams.

The championship could now be pushed to a third week for the fourth year in succession. “This is one of the biggest events in tennis, a grand slam tournament event with huge revenues, so maybe they should consider a roof in future,” said top seed Novak Djokovic, echoing sentiments that others have advocated for years.

Djokovic, whose quarter-final against his Serbian Davis Cup team mate Janko Tipsarevic was postponed before he even made it on court, said he supported the players who complained about being ordered to start playing when it was still sprinkling.

Rafa Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick confronted tournament organisers after their matches were halted, saying the conditions were already dangerous before they began. Murray admits he now faces an “incredible” task to win his maiden grand slam with the possibility of four matches in four days.

“It was still raining when they called us on court. The rain never really stopped, the courts were not dry,” said Nadal.

The USTA defended their actions, saying they believed the courts were fit to play on. The USTA have balked at the idea of a retractable roof because of the enormous cost of covering Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest tennis stadium in the world.

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