Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday's Rainout Will Make Repeating Tougher For Nadal

I've chosen the obligatory Jimmy Connors washout video to accompany the bad news that is coming from the US Open on Tuesday. With the rain nixing Rafael Nadal's 4th-round match with Gilles Muller (along with three other men's 4th-round tilts), I immediately wondered the following: Can we really expect Nadal to defend his title by winning four best-of-five set matches in five days? The same goes for Andy Murray, and the other six players who were scheduled to battle for spots in the quarterfinals today.

I just don't know how they are going to get through this. There's rain in the forecast for six of the next seven days and there's no roof.

Then I started thinking: Is there any way that we can get Larry Ellison in so that he could fly all players and ticket holders from New York to Indian Wells?

Excuse me if I sound like an anti-USTA ranter at the moment, but really, it's kind of hard to be anything but at this point. There is no roof at the National Tennis Center, nor is one likely for at least 10 years, and to make matters more complicated, the US Open remains as the only Grand Slam that plays the semifinals and finals on back-to-back days.

That double-whammy has made for more headaches than great tennis in recent years. Super Saturday at the US Open supposedly began for the sake of the fans (let's be honest: it's really more about the advertisers), but does anybody really benefit from having a Grand Slam final played less than 24 hours after the semifinals? It makes no sense, especially when you consider the way tennis is played these days. The points are longer, the matches are longer and the physical rigor of the game is exponentially greater.

With Tuesday's play cancelled, it appears as if the players won't even be fresh when Super Saturday begins, and the advantage has swung decidedly in favor of the four players who are already through to the quarters: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Janko Tipsarevic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. If rain causes no further cancellations, each will still have to play three matches in five days, but that seems a lot more manageable than the herculean task that the other eight players slated to play fourth-rounders tomorrow face.

Of course, I'm operating under the assumption that matches will be played on Wednesday through Saturday, but we all know mother nature might have other designs. So, here we are, at the mercy of factors beyond anybody's control, in a tournament that has already proved that they care more about TV ratings than ensuring that their finalists are rested and ready to go for the final (I'm all for commercialization, but prefer to draw the line a little closer to the player's wishes).

You do the math, if you can stomach the conclusion: advantage, mother nature.

All we can do now is cross our fingers and hope and pray that an equable solution drops out of the sky with all those raindrops.

1 comment:

  1. You're right--it is absolutely unfair for the fourth round players. But maybe that's just the way it has to be...


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