SBD/September 19, 2011/Events and Attractions

U.S. Open Could Consider Schedule Changes Amid Another Event Plagued By Rain

Weather concerns could cause earlier start for U.S. Open in future
With the men's U.S. Open final pushed to Monday afternoon for a fourth straight year due to rain, some talk has been generated about an earlier start for the tournament, but USTA Exec Dir & COO Gordon Smith said that he does not "see a Sunday start in the short term," according to the N.Y. TIMES' John Martin, who wrote under the header, "Everybody Still Talks About The Weather." Smith said, "But we clearly get the message, and I think in the longer term we will be looking and considering scheduling changes." Smith added that the USTA "would consider a Sunday start only after consulting the players and the association's television partners," CBS, ESPN and Tennis Channel. Tennis player Andy Murray said, "If they want to put an extra day in, then they better increase the prize money substantially because it's an extra day's work for us." USTA BOD member Franklin Johnson said he "hated to see the Open cave in to the players and not finish on Sunday." Johnson also said that moving the "men's semifinals to Friday would not be a satisfactory solution" either. Johnson: "The TV revenue from playing the men's semis on Saturday instead of Friday is materially better." Johnson suggested that the "tournament begin on a Sunday, as the French Open does." Johnson said Sunday "is a great TV day and attractive for families if we offered a discounted family price" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). The USTA ran a full-page ad in yesterday's N.Y. Times that read in part, "The World's Best Tennis.... The World's Greatest Fans" (THE DAILY).
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