Major changes needed at last major

Enough is enough – the USTA must act to prevent its flagship event becoming a permanent 3-week occasion.  For the 5th consecutive year, the men’s final will be played on at least Day 15.  The organisers will again seek to blame bad luck on account of the weather but they know what they are playing with.  When they built the unsustainable Arthur Ashe Stadium, they knew that the sheer size of it meant that a roof could not be possible.  They wanted to make the stadium bigger and better than anything the other three slams could offer.  They achieved the first of those two criteria; sadly it comes nowhere near to being the best tennis stadium in the world. Nowhere near.

It is true that a roof would not have helped on Saturday afternoon when the entire grounds had to be evacuated due to an impending tornado.  However, the organiser’s attempts to finish before the storm arrived were absolutely laughable if they weren’t so unfair on players.  Their decision to prevent Andy Murray from doing an on-court interview or throwing signed balls into the crowd will have saved all of three minutes.  They knew the storm was coming.  Why didn’t they simply schedule both of the men’s semis to take place simultaneously on separate courts? Far too logical.  So once again, we have one finalist with a clear physical advantage over the other.  A day’s rest at this stage of the tournament can make all the difference, and for me this puts Andy Murray as favourite no matter who his opponent.

It is time that the tennis authorities held serious discussions about the timing of the season’s final slam.  Why must we continually schedule it in hurricane season?  Year after year, our top players are let down by the scheduling in New York.  There are other parts of the year that have similarly warm conditions in the Big Apple but without the threat of tropical storms.  The powers-that-be have proven themselves not to be immovable by putting Wimbledon back by one week from the 2015 season.  A similar move needs to be made for the US Open as the farce just keeps on getting worse and worse.  They cannot keep on giving advantage to one finalist or another.  It is simply not fair and prevents the public from seeing classic finals in this the greatest era in the history of men’s tennis.

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