Source: "50-50" Chance U.S. Open Stages Monday Primetime Men's Final Next Year
The chances of the U.S. Open scheduling a Monday primetime men’s final next year is “50-50,’’ according to a USTA source cited by Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. Today’s Andy Murray-Novak Djokovic men’s final marks “the fifth straight year it has been pushed back from Sunday to Monday” due to weather, and there is “a surge of support from USTA officials to make Monday permanent, but in prime time.” USTA Exec Dir & COO Gordon Smith said that next year the men “will definitely have one day of rest between the semifinals and final.” Smith said that a “Friday semifinal-Sunday final scenario was being discussed, but wouldn’t rule out a Saturday-Monday finish.” Berman notes the USTA “prefers the Super Saturday-Monday night scenario but is fearful the ATP will object because it adds on [an] extra day of work” (N.Y. POST, 9/10).
SAYONARA TO SATURDAY: SI.com’s Andrew Lawrence wrote, “For the fifth straight year, we'll ask: why isn't the US Open a better-scheduled tournament?” Super Saturday “is history now;” but the “three-day, first-round format remains.” Lawrence: “The decision defies logic. Weather is a constant enemy, and with no roof in place, why not bank the time? It worked for Wimbledon -- where the day of rest comes on the fortnight's middle Sunday for more than a century before a roof was put over Centre Court to shelter play from the soggy London summer weather.” The event is “yet another chance for a niche sport to grab some fans [before] the start of football season.” But Saturday, with “yet another self-defeating blunder to its name, the U.S. Open gave everyone one more reason not to care about tennis” (SI.com, 9/9). In N.Y., George Vecsey wrote, “Say goodbye to Super Saturday, as we have known it.” The day is “heading toward a multimillion-dollar extreme makeover of unknown structure.” Next year the format of the tournament's final weekend “all changes.” CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus on Friday said, “You have to start with the premise that players will get a day off between the semifinals and the finals.” McManus listed “two options for the men -- semifinals on Friday and final on Sunday, or semifinals on Saturday and final on Monday night -- with the women’s finalists also getting a day off between matches, playing on Thursday and Saturday or on Friday and Sunday.” When asked about the economics of restructuring, McManus said, “A lot of it is financial. We’re analyzing it. [The USTA is] well aware of it” (N.Y. TIMES, 9/9).
CLOUDY SKIES: In N.Y., Stefan Bondy noted the U.S. Open for the fifth straight year will “spill into overtime -- and a Monday men’s final -- all because of severe and potentially dangerous weather that was scheduled to hit Queens around 6 p.m. and compelled Open officials to halt play before things got bad.” Tournament Dir David Brewer said, “We were advised by the (city’s) Office of Emergency Management that we couldn’t wait any longer. It was a safety factor. We had to give our fans time to get out of the stadium and get to their cars or to mass transit.” Brewer said that Open officials “consulted with broadcast partners and players to get a consensus on the best way to get the men’s matches in Saturday, thus eliminating the need for a Monday finish, but ultimately they decided not to play the semifinal matches simultaneously, by moving one of them to Louis Armstrong Stadium.” The event did this with the ‘08 Murray-Rafael Nadal semifinal, and “drew heavy criticism from ticket buyers who paid for two marquee matches and only got to see one” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/9).
MAKING RACQUET FOR A ROOF: The AP’s Howard Fendrich noted the Serena Williams-Victoria Azarenka women's final was shifted from Saturday night to Sunday at 4:30pm ET, marking the “fourth time in the last five years the women's title match was rescheduled.” Brewer said of the switch for the men’s final, "I would say we're getting very tired of having Monday finals” (AP, 9/8). In N.Y., Brian Lewis wrote the USTA “wasted no time” rescheduling the Williams-Azarenka final. Brewer said, “The consensus was it was fair to try to get both matches played on Ashe. Frankly, we got surprised by pop-up showers, pushed us back 90 minutes. Did we consider it? Yes. But we felt in fairness to ticketholders and the broadcast audience who tunes in to see two men’s semis to keep them on the same court.” Brewer said of a potential roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the near future, “We talk about a roof all the time. The engineering and technology is just not quite there yet. When it is, we’ll be one of [the] most eager people to listen” (N.Y. POST, 9/9). The N.Y. TIMES’ provides four suggestions of potential roofs for Ashe Stadium (N.Y. TIMES, 9/10).
CHEERS TO THIS? In N.Y., Filip Bondy writes there was an “awkward interval" Sunday night in the press interview room when U.S. Open-sponsor Moet & Chandon "delivered a trolley of small champagne bottles to the assembled media who already had waited an hour to ask post-match questions of Serena Williams.” Smith then “led a toast that basically called Williams’ victory the greatest match in Open history.” Bondy writes, “The event felt inappropriate for several reasons: First of all, a modicum of neutrality is expected in media venues. No cheering in the press box, and all that. … Most importantly, however, Williams is a Jehovah’s Witness. Devotees of the religion do not drink alcoholic beverages, and can’t encourage their consumption” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/10).