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No roof over players heads at US Open

Calls for a spare-no-expense roof at the US Open are expected intensify once again after rain hampered play and forced the postponement of the men's tennis final for a third straight year, with Sunday's match delayed by a day

sports Updated: Sep 13, 2010 17:04 IST

Calls for a spare-no-expense roof at the US Open are expected intensify once again after rain hampered play and forced the postponement of the men's tennis final for a third straight year, with Sunday's match delayed by a day.

Officials reluctantly announced Sunday evening that rain would force the men's final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to be played Monday.

It was the same story in 2008 and 2009 at the rich event, which boasts an attendance approaching three-quarters of a million but no guaranteed play on even a single court. In 2008, Roger Federer beat Andy Murray, while in 2009 the Swiss lost in a fifth set to Argentine Juan Del Potro.

The US event is being left well in the dust among the four Grand Slams as the Australian Open works to complete a record third covered court, and Wimbledon sits secure in the certainty that play is continuous after completing a moveable translucent roof over its iconic Centre Court in time for the 2009 edition.

The French Open on clay can carry on in light rain due to the surface.

Embarrassed New York officials announced Sunday evening that the conclusion of the women's doubles final will start at 2:55 p.m. (1855 GMT) with the men's final due to begin at 4 p.m. (2000 GMT).

The delay can only prove beneficial to Djokovic after the Serb fought for nearly four hours on Saturday to defeat five-time winner Federer in five sets. No matter how he fares in his 22nd meeting with the Spanish world number one, the 23-year-old will return to second in the standings.

Nadal was delayed in his quest to complete a career Grand Slam, with the US Open the only major missing from his resume.

Nadal stands 14-7 over Djokovic, who won the 2008 Australian Open. The Spaniard is also aiming to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win three consecutive Slams after claiming repeat trophies in 2010 at Roland Garros (his fifth) and Wimbledon (second).

Djokovic will benefit from the extra day, but he knows his job will be huge against the favourite. "He's number one and is the one that is playing great tennis. Rankings-wise or any other way of looking at it, he is the favourite."

Djokovic told New York TV that he was unable to sleep after his semi-final win. "I was watching golf and trying to sleep but because of the adrenalin I couldn't. I was walking around killing time. Tomorrow is a new day.

"I will try to rest as much as I can and get some recovery. I'm sure I'll be fit to play my best tennis."