Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Rafael Nadal - Confronts Officials @ US Open

Defending-champion Rafael Nadal and other top players were angered by being sent to compete on slippery courts at the U.S. Open today as rain again disrupted the schedule.

Nadal, the No. 2 seed from Spain, accused a tournament official of ignoring safety for “the money.” Andy Roddick, the 21st seed and 2003 tournament champion from the U.S., said the courts at the National Tennis Center in New York were “not playable” in the misty conditions.

They were joined by fourth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain in a closed-door meeting with tournament referee Brian Earley after their matches were halted by the weather 20 minutes in. There was no word on when play might resume.

Roddick, in an interview with ESPN, said Earley was receptive to the players’ comments.

“If it’s up for discussion whether the courts are playable, then they’re not playable,” Roddick said. “We just wanted to be sure we weren’t put in that position again and I think we’re all clear now.”

Their matches on the tournament’s three main show courts started about 90 minute late because of rain, which wiped out yesterday’s schedule.

“It’s the same old thing,” Nadal was quoted by the ESPN’s Pam Shriver as telling a tournament referee inspecting the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. “All you think about is the money.”
‘Venomous’ Comment

Shriver, a former U.S. Open runner-up, said Nadal was “venomous.”

Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the U.S. Open, said in an interview that he couldn’t immediately comment about the players’ complaints or Nadal’s exchange with the referee.

More precipitation is in the forecast through at least tomorrow, according to The tournament, the season’s last tennis Grand Slam event, is scheduled to end on Sept. 11.

Nadal earlier drew attention after taking much longer to leave the locker room than his opponent, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg. He apologized to Muller for the delay and said in a televised interview that he wasn’t told about the start of play in enough time to prepare himself with athletic tape, which left Muller waiting.

Muller got out to a 3-0 lead, breaking Nadal’s serve without losing a point during a game that included two double- faults from the Spaniard.
Ticket Policy

The U.S. Open’s inclement weather policy allows for exchanges of tickets to future sessions because of rainouts, though not if a match in Ashe Stadium has been completed or 90 minutes of tennis has been played. The tournament also spaces out the men’s play in order to hold the semifinals on Saturday and finals on Sundays, to draw the biggest audience for television.

If matches aren’t completed today, the men will have to play four days in a row and the women three days in a row to complete the tournament on time. The women’s final is scheduled for Sept. 10 and the men’s for the next day.

Four men’s fourth-round matches and two women’s quarterfinals were canceled as rain fell yesterday. All four women’s quarterfinals, two men’s quarterfinals and four men’s fourth-round matches are planned for today.

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and highest-seeded American man remaining in the draw, was leading No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain 3-1 in Louis Armstrong Stadium when play was stopped. Murray, trailed American wild-card entry Donald Young 2-1 on the Grandstand court.
More Matches

No. 28 John Isner of the U.S. and No. 12 Gilles Simon of France also meet in a fourth-round match, which was moved to Court 17 after originally being scheduled for the Grandstand.

Top-seeded Novak Djokovic is scheduled to play fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the first men’s quarterfinal in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Roger Federer, a five-time U.S. Open champion and No. 3 seed from Switzerland, is set to face No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in a quarterfinal night match on the featured court.

The first match scheduled for tonight is a women’s quarterfinal between three-time champion Serena Williams of the U.S. and No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia.

Williams is favored by oddsmakers to win the tournament even though she was seeded 28th after two injury-marred years.

Women’s top seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark is scheduled to play No. 10 Andrea Petkovic of Germany, while the other women’s quarterfinals feature No. 2 Vera Zvonareva of Russia against No. 9 Samantha Stosur of Australia, and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta of Italy against Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Monday Finals

The men’s final has been moved to Monday because of weather in each of the last three years. It’s the only time there has been three straight Monday finishes in the tournament’s history.

“We’re still on course to finish on Saturday for the women and Sunday for the men,” Earley said in a televised interview with ESPN today before play began. “If we lose today and tomorrow, then we’re going to really be concerned.”

None of the 17 competition courts at the National Tennis Center has a retractable roof such as those at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, two of the sport’s other three majors.

Courtesy: Bloomberg

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