Federer demands US Open schedule rethink
Updated: 2011-09-10 08:10
Swiss tennis star Roger Federer celebrates winning a point against France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during their men's quarterfinal at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Thursday. Federer won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. [Photo/Agencies]
Washouts force a fourth straight men's showdown on a Monday
NEW YORK - Roger Federer demanded sweeping changes to the US Open schedule after the rain-plagued Grand Slam tournament headed for a fourth successive Monday finish.
After two days were washed out this week, and with no roof on any of the show courts at Flushing Meadows, organizers were forced to go into a third week after a raft of complaints from the likes of defending champion Rafael Nadal that players were facing having to play four days on the trot to finish in time.
Federer, who reached the semifinals by demolishing Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, said a Monday final was the best option, but there were deeper problems with the organization of the four Grand Slam events.
"Playing a Monday final would not matter much to me as I have played my quarterfinal, but out of fairness to the other half of the draw, it was the right thing to do," said Federer.
"The problems lie elsewhere. Three early days for the first round and Super Saturday and Sunday are not feasible."
To satisfy television demands at the US Open, the men's first round is played over the first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while the second Saturday traditionally sees the men's semifinals and women's final.
"TV should not dictate. But the players at the Grand Slams have less leverage and sometimes the system is abused," said Federer.
"We were not happy about the Sunday start to the French Open but we started on a Sunday. We don't want to play Saturday and Sunday here, but we still do it. There are a whole lot of issues to be sorted out with the Grand Slams and the ITF."
Top seed and world No 1 Novak Djokovic said he was not happy to have a Monday final as it would eat into travel plans to reach Belgrade next week for the Davis Cup semifinal with Argentina.
But Federer said that should not be an issue out of fairness to the other players in New York.
"I have to fly to Australia to get there by Friday for the Davis Cup. Is that good? No."
But Djokovic, who is already in the semifinals after defeating Serb compatriot Janko Tipsarevic, is against a Monday final.
"I'm not really happy about that, to be honest. I'm not, because there is always Davis Cup the weekend after," said Djokovic.
"Last year I played finals and finished very late on Monday. Took off Tuesday, arrived Wednesday, and had to play on Friday already, Saturday. How that is possible? It's just too much."
Djokovic, who will have Friday off and also Sunday should he make the final, admitted he did have a slight advantage over rivals like Nadal and Murray who will play their last-eight matches on Friday.
"For the top half it has to be an advantage because we finished our fourth round a couple days ago, and then today I finished my quarterfinal and I have a day off until my semi, where the other guys have to play day after day," he said.
"That's the way it is. You can't fight it. You can't complain. It's Mother Nature that doesn't allow us."
Earlier on Thursday, the US Tennis Association released a revised schedule for the remainder of the tournament.
The men's final is now scheduled to start at 4pm on Monday, with the women's final pushed back from Saturday to Sunday.
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