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US Open planning schedule change

US Open planning schedule change

In the aftermath of the rain-affected 2011 tournament, the US Open is looking into ways to change its schedule as early as next year according to tournament director Jim Curley

Perhaps influenced by the player outcry at Flushing Meadows, not to mention four consecutive years of rain-postponed men’s finals, the US Open is looking into changing its schedule as soon as next year.

Currently the only Grand Slam to schedule semi-finals and finals on consecutive days, the tournament could even become the first major to switch permanently to a Monday finish to satisfy players’ calls for a day off between the penultimate match and the final.

The move follows concerns raised by the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray at this year’s US Open, with the latter two forced to contest three matches in three consecutive days as a result of rain interruptions to this year’s event.

Tournament director Jim Curley told the Associated Press that one proposal under consideration to the tournament would include shifting the men’s final from Sunday to Monday, and the women’s final from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, also giving the women a day of rest between their semi-finals and final.

Another consideration for the USTA is to keep the men’s title match in its traditional Sunday afternoon spot, but move the semi-finals to Friday, as is the practice at the other Grand Slams.

“We’re just getting into this process and right now everything is on the table,” said Curley of the various scheduling options.

The US Open has played up it’s Super Saturday format since 1984, whereby two men’s semi-finals and the women’s final are played on the Saturday, before the men duel takes place the next day in a Sunday final.

“The sport has become much more physical over the years, to the point where players feel very strongly that they need to have a day between the semis and the final,” Curley said. “While the players are an integral part of the U.S. Open, it’s one aspect we need to take into consideration, along with onsite fans, TV viewers, corporate sponsors, television partners, both domestic and international. It’s a Rubik’s Cube, since so many variables need to be taken into consideration.”

Proposed changes could result in the loss of one or two sessions, which would adversely affect the USTA’s income from TV rights.

“It’s fair to say that this type of change would have a negative financial impact on the USTA, and that’s another reason why we’re being very thoughtful in this process. We’re talking about millions of dollars,” Curley said. As for making the final decision, he added: “It might not happen in (20)12’. It might happen in ’13. I just want to be clear that the goal is to get this done.”

Posted by: tennishead magazine

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