DEFENDING champion Rafael Nadal and British No1 Andy Murray spearheaded an angry players’ revolt at the US Open with the pair claiming tournament organisers had jeopardised their safety by forcing them to play on unsuitable courts.
With Tuesday’s play completely lost to the weather the prospect of the tournament stretching into a third week already looked a possibility, before last night’s deluge accounted for the day session and plunged the event into further chaos.
After an initial delay of around 90 minutes, and with moisture still in the air, the fourth round matches between Nadal and Gilles Muller, Murray and Donald Young and home favourite Andy Roddick and David Ferrer finally got underway.
However, it took only 15 minutes for the heavens to open again and a clearly unimpressed Nadal, who was eight minutes late leaving the locker room for his match before conceding a 3-0 lead, was heard to say: “It’s the same old story, all you think about is money.”
After joint consultation Nadal, Murray and Roddick then paid tournament referee Brian Earley a visit and voiced their concerns before the Spanish second seed added: “We don’t want to go on court if it is raining.
“If I have to go on court, I go on court, but I think it’s not fair. I understand the fans but the health and the players are important and we don’t feel protected.
“The rain really never stopped. The court was dry for 10 minutes and they know we have to go out there. The health of the players is important. We are here working hard and we want to feel good when we’re playing a tournament.”
Murray was similarly concerned that the Grandstand Court on which he played Young for only nine minutes, with the American 2-1 up on serve, was still wet near the back of the playing area.
“Everyone’s relaxed about it now,” Murray said later, “But, when we went out on court, it was still wet, and the balls too.
“It doesn’t make sense to get out there for seven or eight minutes and I don’t think that will happen again. I knew that Rafa was going to see [Brian Earley].
“I spoke to David Ferrer, and he was saying: ‘It was still raining when we went on there.’ The lines are slippy and very dangerous. I said I will go in and mention it as well, then Andy [Roddick] came.”
Roddick added: “I think if it’s up for discussion, it’s probably not playable. We wanted to make it known we probably didn’t want to be put in that position again.”
Murray and Nadal were among the eight men waiting to complete their fourth-round matches, leaving them behind the likes of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, who are already through.