ATP World Tour Is Opposed to Plans to Extend U.S. Open Tennis to 15 Days
The tournament, held at Flushing Meadows in New York, has staged a Monday men’s singles final for the past four years because of bad weather. This year, players including second- ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain and third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain complained about the event’s scheduling, including back- to-back semifinals and finals without a day off.
The U.S. Tennis Association, which organizes the U.S. Open, may become the first Grand Slam tournament to add one day to its schedule and switch permanently to a Monday finish in order to give both the men and women a day off between the last four and the title match, it said on its website this week.
“We are pleased the U.S.T.A. is addressing as a priority the players’ concerns about scheduling the U.S. Open men’s semi- finals and finals on consecutive days,” Helfant said in an e- mailed statement to Bloomberg News.
“However, we don’t necessarily see how the right solution would be expanding the tournament to fifteen days. We continue to have very open conversations with the U.S.T.A. about this.”
The semifinals of the Davis Cup, the elite men’s team event, are held the weekend after the U.S. Open, giving the players who make the finals in New York less time to recover and prepare if they played the title match on a Monday.
Djokovic was forced to retire in his Davis Cup singles match five days after winning in New York because of the recurrence of a lower-back injury he had also struggled with at the Open.
The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam event that schedules the semifinals and finals on consecutive days. Its “Super Saturday” format of two men’s semifinals and the women’s finals played on one day, followed by a men’s final on the Sunday, has been in existence since 1984.
The Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon all schedule a day off in between the semifinals and finals. Wimbledon is the only major with a rest day in the middle of the tournament, which is played over 13 days at the All England Club. The Australian Open is played over 14 days, while the French Open takes 15 days because of a Sunday start.
The men’s tennis season, which runs from January to the end of November, is one of the longest in professional sports. Helfant, who will leave the ATP World Tour at the end of this year, last year oversaw an extension to the offseason by two weeks to seven weeks from the end of 2012, so that tennis players will have more time to rest and recuperate.
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