Players face back-to-back matches to clear backlog
Competitors at this year's US Open could be forced to play two singles matches in a day, organisers admitted on Tuesday.india Updated: Sep 03, 2003 09:56 IST
Competitors at this year's US Open could be forced to play two singles matches in a day, organisers admitted on Tuesday.
Rain over Flushing Meadows in the last two days has decimated the schedule and Brian Earley, tournament referee, said he could not rule anything out in a bid to get the season's final grand slam finished as billed on Sunday.
"I never say never," Earley told reporters.
"It's hard for me to imagine (two matches in a day), but I've never been in this situation before.
"The rule of thumb is one singles match a day, but that wouldn't mean we wouldn't (finish) a match and then go on to play a second in the (same) day.
"The rule of thumb is one thing; what happens is another.
"Most people ask whether we would ask players to play every day, as opposed to every other day, and the answer is 'yes'.
"But the players understand...they are excellent, they are willing to play when and where we ask."
Earley and Arlen Kantarian, chief executive of the United States Tennis Association professional division, are under pressure to find a solution to schedling problems caused by the wet weather.
With the start of play delayed on Tuesday for seven hours, it raised the spectre of the tournament going into a third week.
The last time the men's final was played on the third Monday of the championships was in 1987, when Ivan Lendl beat Mats Wilander.
"The only contingency plan that is well-defined is the one for a possible washout on (the final Sunday)...we typically would hold the (men's) final on Monday late afternoon instead," said Kantarian.
Kantarian, however, insisted there was still hope for a regular conclusion for the tournament.
"With the number of courts we have, with a degree of good weather, we can play catch-up pretty quickly," said Kantarian.
"Obviously that's dependant on having one full day and one full night session...but with that we can catch up in almost a day and a half."
The problem is that weather forecasts predict no significant break in the rain until Friday and organisers need to have the men's quarter-finals and the women's semi-finals out of the way by Friday night.
"We're being told it's going to be a beautiful weekend," said Earley.
"(But if those quarters and semis are not completed by Friday), certainly it would make sense to (extend into a third week)."