Rafael Nadal claimed players’ safety was being put at risk by cash-conscious US Open chiefs trying to rescue the rain-hit event which suffered a virtual washout for the second successive day on Wednesday. Only 15 minutes of play was possible after all of Tuesday was lost to downpours, the first such full-day wipeout since 2006.
The deluge left defending champion Nadal stuck at the fourth round stage and having to play four days in succession if he was to win Sunday’s final.
Nadal, along with Andy Murray and Andy Roddick, complained to tournament referee Brian Earley.
All four remaining last-16 matches and two scheduled quarter-finals were cancelled and moved to Thursday. But that didn’t stop him from beating Muller 7-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Officials then had to cancel the four women’s quarter-finals when more rain appeared just after three-time champion Serena Williams and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had finished warming-up on Ashe.
“We don’t want to go on court if it is raining. I think it’s not fair,” said 10-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal who was 3-0 down to Muller when conditions deteriorated. As he passed Earley on the court, he said: “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 insisted it was too dangerous to play. “Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it’s dangerous.” “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,” added the Scot.
Tournament director Jim Curley said it was still planned to finish the tournament on Sunday.
“It is our intention to finish the tournament on time on Sunday. We feel we’re dealing with some of the best conditioned athletes in the world.”