NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — The U.S. Open’s men’s final may have to be pushed back to Monday, Sept. 12, because of rain.
While that hasn’t been a huge concern in the past, this year is different. The tournament at Flushing Meadows is scheduled to end on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
So the USTA’s biggest concern suddenly is when the weather will allow players to get back on court.
Tuesday was the first time play has been delayed by rain this year, postponing a total of 54 matches — four in the fourth round of men’s singles, two in the quarterfinals of women’s singles, along with doubles and juniors — at least until Wednesday, when the forecast predicts more rain.
The two-week Open, which began Aug. 29 and is supposed to end Sunday, has been plagued by rain in recent years. Wet weather pushed the men’s final back a day to Monday in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
The U.S. Open announced plans in August to paint a white “9-11-01″ next to the court for the men’s and women’s singles finals. Performances by Queen Latifah and Cindy Lauper are scheduled for Sunday, part of a 9/11 commemoration that will also include a military flyover.
As it is, the men in Rafael Nadal’s half of the draw — such as No. 4 Andy Murray, No. 21 Andy Roddick and No. 28 John Isner — could be forced to play four matches in five days, or even worse.
The men in the other half of the field, including No. 1 Novak Djokovic and 16-time major champion Roger Federer, already have progressed to the quarterfinals.
“It’s a huge advantage for the top half right now. They have one match to play in the next four days, and the other guys have two — and then they’ll have two more after that,” said U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier, a four-time Grand Slam title winner. “It’s the luck of the draw.”
There is no permanent or retractable roof on any court used for matches at the U.S. Open, unlike at Wimbledon and the Australian Open. The French Open announced plans to install a retractable roof on center court by 2016.
Citing financial concerns and technical complexities, the U.S. Tennis Association says it doesn’t have plans to put a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, although it is still studying possible options. Past estimates put the cost of a roof at $150 million to $200 million.
The men’s matches originally set for Tuesday were Nadal against unseeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg; Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, against No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain; Isner against No. 12 Gilles Simon of France; and three-time Grand Slam finalist Murray against unseeded Donald Young of the United States.
In women’s singles, No. 2 Vera Zvonareva was to face No. 9 Sam Stosur, and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta was scheduled to play unseeded Angelique Kerber of Germany.
Those six matches now are on Wednesday’s schedule, plus the other two women’s quarterfinals — 13-time major champion Serena Williams vs. No. 17 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki vs. No. 10 Andrea Petkovic — and the first two men’s quarterfinals — Djokovic vs. No. 20 Janko Tipsarevic, and Federer vs. No. 11 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
“It’s going to get crazy once it gets going,” Courier said.
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