Deluge of critcism follows rain for organisers

  • Reuters, PTI, New York
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 04, 2003 11:02 IST

Andy Roddick added to the criticism facing US Open organisers as heavy rain and severe delays exacerbated the chaos at the year's final grand slam.

Roddick welcomed the opening of indoor practice courts at Flushing Meadows, which has been disrupted by rain for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, with a thinly-veiled attack on the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The American fourth seed's comments followed a withering assessment of the Open's organisation by Martina Navratilova as the "poorest scheduling" she had seen in her grand slam career.

With players increasingly frustrated, the USTA freed up three indoor courts on Wednesday for the competitors to practise on.

The indoor hall had been converted into an activities centre aimed at younger fans -- called "Smash Zone" -- since the start of the Open on August 25.

"It's obvious that (the change) had to happen," Roddick, who is waiting to play a fourth-round match against Belgian Xavier Malisse, told USA television network.

"The Smash Zone is great for kids but when it takes priority over players practising, it's a little questionable."

Navratilova, the 18-times singles grand slam champion, believes the majority of players are unimpressed with the organisation.

"This is the poorest scheduling I've ever been part of in any grand slam," the 46-year-old, who is still in the women's doubles competition, told the New York Times on Wednesday.

"If you ask the other players, they would say the same thing but they haven't played in as many as I have."

For the second year running, the wet weather has exposed the set up at the US Open.

First round matches are spread out over the first three days, with critics arguing the USTA should aim to complete the first round in two days.

Top seed and world number one Andre Agassi was unhappy after the referee's office decided to reschedule other matches ahead of his rain-hit third-round encounter with Yevgeny Kafelnikov earlier in the tournament.

Most players have been faced with a myriad of time and court changes to their matches over the last three days.

The rain has left organisers trying to play catch-up in a desperate bid to finish the tournament on the advertised day of Sunday, September 7.


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