Player Revolt? Nadal, Roddick, Murray Voice Their Unhappiness at US Open Scheduling
by Tom Gainey | September 7th, 2011, 2:31 pm

The rain isn’t the only storm in New York. The players at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are getting upset.

ESPN2 has been talking all morning about the rain and wet conditions at the US Open. In the last hour the network showed footage of Andy Roddick, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal all leaving the tournament office following an impromptu meeting with the head referee.

Then ESPN’s Pam Shriver interviewed each player and all three said they should not have been asked to go out in play this morning at the US Open because the courts and conditions were still wet.

Rafael Nadal, who was on Arthur Ashe, had some strong words saying “the health of players are important too and we don’t feel protected”. If I have to play in rain then I have to play in rain, he said.

“We cannot accept these things, we have to be together,” Nadal said. “We have to fight that we don’t want to go on court when it’s raining.”

Roddick offered his take on the situation. “If it’s up for discussion if the courts are playable or not then it’s not playable,” Roddick said who is on Louis Armstrong. “We just wanted to make it known that we didn’t want to be put in that position again.”

Roddick said that having him, Murray and Nadal all visit referee Bryan Early would have a bigger impact.

“First and foremost the players need to feel safe,” Roddick said. “To Bryan Early’s credit he listened to us.”

“He listened to what we had to say, he was very nice in our conversation.”

Andy Murray, who was playing on Grandstand, said that the courts were still wet in the back and the lines were quickly getting slick from the moisture in the air.

Before playing began Nadal needed nearly 10 extra minutes to appear on Ashe. Rafa said he was told “last minute” to get out on court but was unable to make the time because of all the taping. He apologized on camera to Tom Rinaldi and then he directly told Muller he was sorry. But he was overheard saying to Early that it is always about the money at the US Open.

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62 Comments for Player Revolt? Nadal, Roddick, Murray Voice Their Unhappiness at US Open Scheduling

Heyy17 Says:

Maybe they should have told the umpire immediately of the issue with the wet courts, rather than grouping together like two year olds and waiting until the last minute to complain.

alison hodge Says:

the players said they didnt feel comfortable with the conditions as the courts were still wet,so it beggars belief as to why they went out in the 1st place,like rafa said they already knew that more rain was forecast anyway.

Swiss Maestro Says:

I am glad the players are making a stand together. someone needs to knock some sense into these idiots who run the USopen. this is 2011. there are civilisations which have done some amazing engineering feats 2000 years back. it is sad that this annual charade keeps repeating at NY.

Bonnie Johannes Says:

Every athlete in every sport deserves to be respected and their safety made the #1 priority; for some obtuse reason there appears the belief that if an athlete is a professional and paid to perform then they have to take their risks for the money at stake… or they have been bought and paid for and have no recourse to expect anything but the $$.
I hope I am not the lone voice when I say this really is beginning to sound and feel like indentured servitude. ‘They bought you/you owe them!’ To me that attitude is just plain wrong; has the valueless society begun to seek new lows? How embarrassing that this is surfacing in New York just before the 10th remembrance of 9/11.; where we do remember, revere and honor the value of a human life.

Anna Says:

If the players are told to go on court and play, I’m not sure they have the option to refuse. It was pretty clear that they wouldn’t be playing long so why bother risking life and limb for 10 minutes of play. This isn’t the firt time the players have felt “underappreciated” at the US open because of this kind of situation. Sadly, it
probably won’t be the last either.

Nina Says:

Great post Bonnie! I agree 100%.

Jack Lewis Says:

“rather than grouping together like two year olds and waiting until the last minute to complain.”

You have to be a two year old to associate in groups? Who new.

andres Says:

I agree with the players. Why risk the chance of a major injury if they only be able to play for 15 minutes, it doesn’t make sense

someone Says:

“Before playing began Nadal needed nearly 10 extra minutes to appear on Ashe. Rafa said he was told “last minute” to get out on court but was unable to make the time because of all the taping. He apologized on camera to Tom Rinaldi and then he directly told Muller he was sorry. But he was overheard saying to Early that it is always about the money at the US Open”

Nadal once again making his opponent wait for him. Always with these dirty tactics

Humble Rafa Says:

Nadal once again making his opponent wait for him. Always with these dirty tactics

If you know how much taping goes on my body before I got out, you wouldn’t make such statements.

5 fingers, 2 feet, 2 knees,, it takes time.

scoreboard66 Says:

@Bonnie Johannes, you are an ‘adult’ voice of reason amongst some very adolescent thinking. Some of the comments here just blow my mind and demonstrates on many levels, the selfishness, hatefulness, and cruelty of some who blog here. Why should these players, Nadal, Murray Rolddick, Ferrer, play in these treacherous conditions? To please whom? I’m sure if they had played one of them would have gotten hurt, and is that necessary coz some here, who seem to have very little to do but blog, would like to see tennis? I think there are other things to occupy the time when tennis is not being played, like a very mind taxing job for instance,which some of us have to do every day, which will definitely keep the complainers occupied and add some productivity to their lives.

@Humble Rafa, I know some find you to be hilarious, but sad to say I don’t. I suppose if it were Djokovic that was being maligned in the manner you do towards Fed and Nadal, his faithful band, would be ready to club you to death. They seem to find you to be so funny and love your posts when you are tearing down Rafa, but can’t even handle the the simple truth that Novak had played more night matches before Murray even got one in. Anyway, have fun doing what you do best, which is receiving much needed attention form thos who find you to be amusing.

jamie Says:

I told y’all that Nole was going to win the USO. It was written in the stars.

scoreboard66 Says:

From what I’ve heard from those in the business, a roof on Ashe would be an engineering impossibility.

It would be wise for the USTA to build an additional stadium similar in size, with a roof to be used when emergencies such as the present arise. Perhaps with some smarts they could turn the building into an office type complex, to be used for other than tennis. I’m positive they have the money and resources to do this, considering the humoungous salaries they pay to the many hundreds of coaches, assistants, directors, captains, etc., and with their clout, it could probably be done within a year. I hope they do something, because this situation is very bad for the players, those of whom who have to play 4 matches in 4 days in 3 best of 5. I wouldn’t even want to think of the stress these guys are going through. Albeit everything seems to center around the top 4, the other players are human too, and deserve some consideration, coz they breathe and do everything just like the top 4 do.

scoreboard66 Says:

Well Jamie, with the amount of added advantages Nole has in his repertoire presently, he should beat everyone. Eggs are nutritious to the body. What will do do if Federer beats your precious Nole? The on ly reason Fed won’t beat Nole, is if he has to play a tough 5 setter with Tsonga. Fed is 30, an d Nole is 24, so that’s one advantage Nole has over Rog without them even taking the court to play against each other.

Wog boy Says:

Scoreboard66, what is your problem with Novak, can’t you just make a comment without Novak. How many times he has to belt your players to prove to you that he is” the best of the best of the best .” Got it dude?
Sorry for my English, i am wog boy from Sydney, downunder :-))
Go Nole….,Ajde Nole

jamie Says:

Federer is done winning slams.

He will retire with 16 slams.

scoreboard66 Says:

No problem at all. Why don’t you ask Humble Rafa and Jamie what are their problems with Rafa and Roger that they have to keep putting them down so much?

Jamie keeps degrading Federer several times on every thread, so does Humble Rafa. Today I feel like answering them, coz there’s only so much that you can ignore. I guess I have a right to say something, or is it only Nole fans who are allowed to speak up on his behalf? It’s only fair if you want to look at it in a fair way.

When I began blogging here I was complimentary to Nole. I congratulated him on his No.1 and winning wimbledon, but then I realized that his fans were bashing Fed and Rafa, so I stopped, and now I respond sometimes.

Michael Says:

What these players are grumbling about has valid justification. The scheduling of the US Open has to improve a lot. With the way it is with respect to infrastructure, umpires and the uncomfortable schedule, the US Open does not deserve to be classified as a major and fit to be downgraded to a Masters Tournament. Valuable two days play have been lost just because the Courts have no protection to rain unlike other majors. For the past three years, the finals has not been held on the scheduled Sunday and yet the US Open Authorities have not even bothered to nail this issue and take fruitful steps.

Michael Says:

Jamie seems to be an astrologer measuring Federer. Yet, Jamie, even 16 is greater. No player has managed to achieve that feat till date. But what I admire about Federer is not his 16 majors but the 30 consecutive quarter final streak. Never worry, no player will be able to overcome this monumental feat.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Don’t forget his phenomenal semi’s streak, probably his most untouchable record friggin ever.

Michael Says:

Yeah Skeezerweezer, I got it. 23 consecutive Semi-final streak. Unbelievable but made true because of the phenomenon named Federer. Nothing is final but seeing the magnitude of this record, it will stay for sure for many centuries to come. I have no doubt in my mind that Federer is the GREATEST EVER TENNIS PLAYER which I am sure many Tennis Commentators, analysts and spectators will nod in agreement.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Right friggin on!

And the past and current best players said it also!

No need for Nostradomus predictors here…Fed has already sealed the record books for this generation!

Fed fans rejoice!

margot Says:

Scoreboard66: keep going with those rational and thoughtful posts :) But good luck with them, sites can be snake pits at times. My rule is to try not to say anything in the virtual world that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face……but hey, EVEN I am not perfect..;)
Also, best not to give the oxygen of publicity to some clearly deranged bloggers.

Chico Says:

@Michael & Skeeze

Rofl! Instigators you.. :)

alison hodge Says:

@jamie so your online pyschic told you that nole would win the us open,the same one that said he would win wimbledon,i am skint so please tell me how to find this on line pyschic,maybe he or she will tell me the winning numbers for this weekends lottery.

margot Says:

alison : wonder why online psychic is bothering to work at all….;)

alison hodge Says:

@someone ive never actually seen you ever send in a post on a player you actually like,the only time you do post is to let us know,time and time and time again,about how much you despise rafa,please tell us id be really interested to know who you do like,or who your rooting for,please enlighten us because i havent got a clue,another thing why watch rafa if you hate him so much,instead watch somebody you do like,i dont know why anyone would torture themselves that much,you do have a choice you know nobodys forcing you to watch him if you dont want to.

Wog boy Says:

OK ,Humble Rafa and Jamie , what is your problem with Rafa and RF? Leave them alone , please.
Enough pain and misery has been already inflicted on them by ” the most complete player ever” ……….NOVAK!
It is not easy when you have ” former number one ” against your name.
I want to see good man Andy Murray playing against his good friend Novak in the final.

alison hodge Says:

hi margot yeah too right lol.

Dan Martin Says:

I think Nadal could be a future labor leader – I am not a huge fan of grinding tennis, but I have to admire how he has rounded out his game over the years and admire how he stood up for the players yesterday.

MrEdCT Says:

At what risk were the players to play on wet courts? The hardcourts are not like grass which does get quite slick when wet.

I will agree that yesterday’s play was probably a waste of time, but as a fan of tennis I am glad they tried.

I think the players just don’t like it when conditions are optimal to their game. The balls were wet and heavy,a nd the wind was blowing. But the true champions adjust to the conditions and try something else.

I think the whole thing was overblown because there was nothing else to show. This was hardly worth all the fuss they made.

Nims Says:

I don’t think Nadal fought for others, he fought for himself.

alison hodge Says:

@nims what a load of bs you are talking,correct me if im wrong,but didnt a.rod,muzza and rafa all go in to see the referee together,or did rafa force them,or do they not all have minds of there own,some people cannot resist having a pop at rafa just for the sake of it.

Contemperory Says:

Regarding the 30 consecutive streak – lets see where Nadal and Djokovic stand. Of course we could eliminate Murray out of the situation because he was out before the US Open QF in 2009 and 2010.

Current QF streak: 8 (From 2009 US open)
Current SF streak: 2 (From 2011 French open)

Current QF streak: 10 (From 2009 Wimbledon)
Current SF streak: 5 (From 2010 Wimbledon)

Considering the record of 23 SF streak, that seems a distant possibility. However, think of the 30 QF streak.Djoko has already reached 10, and judging by the way he is playing, we never know what is going to happen.

30 consecutive QFs literally convert themselves into 7.5 years of playing in the top 8 in the grand slams.Similarly 23 consecutive SFs literally convert themselves into 5.75 years of playing in the top 4 in the grand slams. Now, the question is, which achievement is better? the SF/QF streaks, or the 16 GS titles? Many people say the number of GS titles carries more value.

If we consider the list of possible GOAT candidates – Laver, Sampras, Connors, etc, what do their QF/SF streaks look like?

alison hodge Says:

@contemperory yawn nooooooo,goat talk so boring.

Contemperory Says:

@alison hodge, don’t take it from a GOAT perspective, just think of this from a statistical data analysis perspective:)

Nims Says:

@alison I do not know why are u so disturbed. I never took a dig at Nadal. I completely agree with his status on the issue. But I did not see him standing up for others in this specific issue. He was one of the affected party, hence he took the issue along with others, which is a smart way to do. And I don’t see any issues in that. But to consider Nadal as someone who did it for others is ridiculous. It would have been true if he was asked not to play and others were asked to play in the wet conditions and Nadal fought for them. But that’s not the case here.

alison hodge Says:

@nims sorry if i took your post the wrong way,but please dont call me disturbed.

jane Says:

I think margot said it right; it was collective action. Sure each player has individual concerns for his safety, but they all went together to take a stand. So it is for themselves and the group too. It benefits all players to be safe.

Just read this re: plans in the works for roof at USO:

“However, Jeff Tarango – a member of the USTA board of directors – says plans are already in place for roofs on the Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadiums. He told BBC Radio Five Live: “It’s called the ‘strategic vision’ and the plans will be showcased and unleashed very shortly. We had a quote for rebuilding that just got doubled on us. We have a very good strategic plan for getting the roof. It’s a really tough decision but it is in place and all the money is being secured, saved up and taken care of.

“Because of the building codes in New York and because of the existing structure we would have to demolish both courts to do them both in one year. That’s why we’re calling it a vision, because it’s going to be a two or three-year instalment process. The plan is to demolish Armstrong and we’ll see what we go with after that.”


Colin Says:

Funny the way this is being treated as all about Rafa. The individual players were of course speaking for themselves, and Murray for one is more than capable of making a fuss if he needs to. Roddick too, can do some straight speaking.
As for the statistics, they may “prove” all kinds of things, but the plain historical record tells us Murray beat Nadal in a USO semi not too long ago, and surely not even the most obdurate Rafanatic would claim their man is playing better than he was a couple of years ago.

alison hodge Says:

@colin out of the top 4 players,rafas played the worst and looked the most vulnerable,in fact i would rate his chances,as been the worst of the 4,and this is coming from a rafa fan.

skeezerweezer Says:

“At what risk were the players to play on wet courts? ”

They are the most dangerous surface for injury when wet. The lines are the most dangerous. If you have ever slipped on a wet hard courts line you might has well be on a banana peel. And when you fall, well it’s not called a Hard Court for nothin. Falling on grass is so cool it’s a privilege, but the balls get soggy and then its feels like hitting a softball. Clay you hardly ever do when wet as the light rain doesn’t bother them much.

Ike Says:

Nice-sunny conditions in Flushing, NY, it’s rainy / damp here in Providence, RI though :(
I love multi-view screen on ESPN3, I wish there was option to make the either window full-screen

jane Says:

Lo and behold – tennis! :)

Ike Says:

I totally agree with re. wet court conditions.
I can’t believe some lady / gentleman above asked “At what risk were the players to play on wet courts?”

Ike Says:

jane, stu,

Ike Says:

Btw, I went to NYC to see USO Fri-Sun, saw Andy Murray beat Robin Haase, Lopez. It wasn’t pleasant to watch Andy against Robin. Robin was hitting really big, no worries. Before seeing those two matches I was sure Andy will win this USO, but now I am not so sure. If majority of his FH are “nadal-style, finishing over the head”, he can’t win this! I hope he remembers to stay aggressive!

Aravind Says:

What a choke from Gilles Mueller to give Rafa back the break!

Ike Says:

great start from Andy M
the BH cross-court winner he hit from defensive position was great, “nadal-like” (in a positive way)

Ike Says:

Donald, great run this USO. We wish you good luck, hopefully you will make it to top-10 some day!

Ike Says:

ok now I am watching Rafa vs. Muller

Nancy Says:

It’s always monetarily beneficial to the Open itself to have at least one ball hit during a session ( day or night). If there is no play, tickets must be reissued for the next day or next year. If any play occurs at all, the session is considered to be active and ticket holders are just out of luck if the rest of the session is rained out. People paid a lot of money to see very little tennis… thus, possibly, Rafa’s comment. 15 minutes of play equals no reissuing of tickets. Tuesday was already a complete wash, and I’m sure the Open officials wanted to avoid another repeat.

jamie Says:

The final looks to be a Nole-Murray one with Nole winning.

I think Tsonga will beat Federer…

MMT Says:

Nancy – I think you hit the nail on the head – well said. That’s the whole reason for the debacle – they just don’t want to lose another day’s revenue, so they sent those players out to play in absurd conditions.

But, if the players decide to boycott en masse, they’d have the US Open by the short and curlies, because they couldn’t possibly default everyone, so next time, they should avoid their entourages for a few minutes, get together in the locker room and say, “We want to inspect the courts ourselves, and if they are not playable, we’re not playing.”

They can only be pushed around as individuals – as a group they can do anything they want – especially at the 11th hour.

MMT Says:

Oh, and by the way, doesn’t anyone else think Hannah Storm completely bottled it before the Muller/Nadal match yesterday? First, she lays into Rafa saying HE’S making Muller wait, then she remembers that she doesn’t know why he’s still in the locker room, and backtracks. Then saying how classy he is for apologizing, etc. Blah, blah, blah…what a dolt. She also botched her 30 for 30 documentary on Evert and Navratilova, so I’m not suprised.

Rafael Nadal: Playing Four Five Sets Matches in Four Days, Not Fair Says:

[…] Nadal voiced his displeasure again at the US Open scheduling. After a frustrated Nadal left the court on a wet Wednesday, Rafa returned today and finished off Gilles Muller in straight sets. But Nadal was still unhappy […]

WTF Says:

alison hodge Says:

“the players said they didnt feel comfortable with the conditions as the courts were still wet,so it beggars belief as to why they went out in the 1st place,like rafa said they already knew that more rain was forecast anyway.”

They don’t have a choice, which is what they’re complaining about and want to change. They didn’t want to go out in the first place, but it wasn’t their decision to make. If they didn’t go, they would have been disqualified, fined heavily, and suspended from the tour. The players, being the main stars of the show haven’t the slightest authority on the matter.

The same argument can be made about the extreme heat policy in Australia. Even if it’s over 100 degrees, if they’re told to play, they have no choice. And it’s common for those temps 5 days in a row.

alison hodge Says:

@wtf fare enough,i think i got my wires crossed,rules and regulations are not my strong point obviously,sorry.

WTF Says:


“They can only be pushed around as individuals – as a group they can do anything they want – especially at the 11th hour.”

The problem is… if the US Open calls their bluff, are they really prepared to be defaulted? All it takes is one player to say no, and he basically becomes US Open champion by default. No player would want to risk that.

A grand slam title is on the line. The most prestigious tournament you can win. A player only has to say, “these guys are over reacting. I’ll play. Default the other guys if you like, but I’m ready to play.” He would then find himself with no opponents, and be handed the title. Or the other players won’t let him, and just go out there to play the damn match, back where we started.

Colin Says:

MrEdCT, do you know what “optimal” means? You seem to be saying the exact opposite to what you intended.

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