Thursday, 8 September 2011

Nadal lashes out at US Open organizers: "All you think about is money"

NEW YORK / Flushing Meadows (Agencies) Rafael Nadal lashed out at US Open organisers on Wednesday, claiming players' safety was being put at risk in a desperate effort to make up for lost time at the chaotic, rain-ravaged event. Defending champion Nadal, world number four Andy Murray and 2003 winner Andy Roddick joined forces to complain to tournament referee Brian Earley after they were sent out to play on courts that had been battered by almost constant rain.>>>

The start of play had already been delayed by 90 minutes but their fourth round matches lasted just 15 minutes before they were hauled off as more downpours soaked Flushing Meadows. (Wonder why it´s called that? Ed.)
Five hours later, all four last-16 matches and two scheduled quarter-finals were cancelled and moved to Thursday as the prospect of a Monday men's final for a fourth successive year edged closer.
"We don't want to go on court if it is raining. If I have to go on court, I go on court, but I think it's not fair," said 10-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal, whose match had originally been slated for Tuesday before the whole day's schedule was washed out.
The clearly unhappy Spaniard was 3-0 down to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller on Arthur Ashe Stadium when they pair were taken off as conditions deteriorated.
As he passed Earley on the court, he was overheard to say: "It’s the same old story, all you ever care about is money."
Nadal added in an interview with ESPN: "We are not protected. There is a lot of money at the Grand Slams but we are part of the show. They are just working for that and not for us.
"It was still raining when they called us on court. The rain never really stopped, the courts were not dry. I know the fans are there but the health of the players is important."
Murray, who was trailing 2-1 to America's Donald Young on Grandstand, insisted it was too dangerous to play.
"The lines get really slippy. Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it's dangerous," said the Scot.
"The back of the court was soaking and the balls were wet too. Everyone mentioned it to the officials but they said it was fine. It didn't make sense to go out on court for seven or eight minutes and then come back inside."
Roddick, who was 3-1 up on fifth-seeded David Ferrer on Louis Armstrong Stadium, joined forced with Nadal and Murray.
"I think if it's up for discussion if the court's playable or not, then it's not playable. Walking out there it was still misting. The back of the courts were still wet," said the American.
Organisers eventually cancelled the day session and the entire men's schedule but hoped to complete the four women's quarter-finals in the night session.
Nadal, Murray and Roddick now could have to play four days in succession if the men's final is to be played as planned on Sunday.
US Open officials said that their decision to send the players out was prompted by their belief that a two-hour window was available between the showers.
"All parties, including the players and tournament, want to get the US Open back on schedule," said a US Tennis Association statement.
"As of 12 noon today, the best information available to us indicated the chance of a two-hour window without rain.
"Unfortunately, not all light rain and mist shows up on radar. We have experienced referees, and they decide if courts are fit for play. Conditions may be not ideal, but still can be safe.
"However, if a player or players feel that conditions are unsafe, we listen to them, as we have always done, and the referee uses that information as part of his/her assessment on whether to continue or halt play."
Men's world number one Novak Djokovic, whose quarter-final with fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic was switched to Thursday, said the US Open should build a roof on its showcase court.
"This is a Grand Slam tournament event with huge revenues, so maybe they should consider a roof in future," said Djokovic.
Five-time champion Roger Federer's match with France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was also switched to Thursday.

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