Rain wrecks US Open schedule

2012-09-05 18:08

New York - Rain has played havoc with the US Open programme, sparking fear of a fifth consecutive Monday men's final and reviving the debate over putting a roof on at least one US Open stadium.

More rain delayed the start of play on Wednesday after washing out much of Tuesday's programme at the season's final Grand Slam tournament on the Flushing Meadows hardcourts.

This marks the seventh year in a row that rain has caused major disruptions with showers forcing delays that have pushed the event to an extra day since 2008.

A chance of rain is in the forecast into the weekend and if organizers can't finish three men's fourth-round matches on Wednesday, one men's finalist would have to finish four matches in four days to have the tournament end on time.

At the other three Grand Slams, the Australian Open and Wimbledon both have courts with retractable roofs while the French Open will follow suit by 2016.

US Tennis Association (USTA) officials announced a $500m renovation plan in June without a roof, claiming to do so was too costly on 23 700-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium.

USTA chief executive Gordon Smith said on the eve of this year's event that there are no plans to put a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but it may happen once the technology is available.

"I cannot tell you when that will be. I can't tell you what it will cost, though it will clearly be over nine figures," he said.

"The amount of money we've lost by not having a roof and the amount of money we might make by adding a roof is negligible compared to the cost of adding a roof."

Just last year, Rafael Nadal was joined by Andy Murray and Andy Roddick in complaining that players were being rushed onto rain-battered courts in a move they claimed was putting profits ahead of player safety.

"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," Nadal said last year before missing this year's event due to lingering knee problems.

Roddick, who will retire after this year's Open, said last year that player concerns outweighed the need to rush into playing matches.

"I certainly understand they need to put tennis on TV, I understand the business side of it as well, but players need to feel comfortable and safe," Roddick said.

"Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it's dangerous," Murray added.

And Novak Djokovic complained a roof was needed over one of the US Open courts.

"This is a Grand Slam tournament event with huge revenues, so maybe they should consider a roof in future," Djokovic said last year.

"Health should be considered more. We are aware of the business side of tennis and that tickets have been sold. We want to play, but the health of the players is a priority."