Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rafael Nadal Blasts U.S. Open Officials For Playing In Rain

Rafael Nadal, the defending  U.S. Open champion and the No. 2 ranked player in the world, ripped U.S. Open officials, after spending 15 minutes on a soggy Arthur Ashe Stadium court Wednesday afternoon, for putting money ahead of player's safety.

Nadal, who was last seen cramping up at a press conference Sunday,  could have been accused of having a Midol moment, but was later joined by Andy Roddick and Andy Murray in voicing their umbrage at tournament referee Brian Earley for allowing matches to be played on a rain-slicked surface.

"It's the same old story.  All you think about is money," Nadal could be heard telling Earley while the tennis player exited the court and the referee checked the surface to see if it was still playable.

Nadal's fourth-round match was suspended after he fell behind 3-0 to Gilles Muller.

Nadal insisted the match, which was started in a misty rain, should not have even started.  A heavier rain followed and the court got slippery and the ball got heavier.

What does Earley think this is...a Yankees-Orioles game?  Why not start the matches at 11 p.m. while you're at it.

"We want to feel good when we are playing the tournament," said Nadal.  "For sure we  cannot accept these things.  I work all my life hard to be playing...We have to fight to have  the power to say we don't want to go on the court when it's raining.  I think it's not fair."

Yesterday, the tournament postponed 54 matches due to the heavy rain and officials were eager to resume play.  If the Open goes an extra day, it would be the fourth year in-a-row the tournament has finished on a Monday.

The USTA issued a statement Wednesday afternoon explaining its decision to play in the inclement weather.

"All parties, including the players and tournament, want to get the U.S. Open back on schedule.  As of 12 noon today, the best information available to us indicated the chance of a two-hour window without rain.  Unfortunately, not all light rain and mist shows up on radar.  We have experienced referees, and they decide if courts are fit to play.  Conditions may not be ideal, but can still be safe.  However, if a player or players feel that conditions are unsafe, we listen to them, as we always done, and the referee uses that information as part of his/her assessment on whether to continue or halt play."

Nadal seems to think player's safety takes a back seat to television revenue.

In an interview with ESPN 2, Nadal said, "We're not feeling protected (by) the tournament.  I understand they need to put tennis on TV.  I understand the business side of it.  First and foremost, I think the players need to feel comfortable and safe."

Serena Williams tweeted her support for Nadal via Twitter.  "Preach @RafaelNadal preach."

In the 1999 Open, Mary Joe Fernandez injured her knee against Venus Williams after slipping on a wet court.  Fernandez won the first set, 6-2, but lost the next two, 6-1, 6-0.

Nadal better get used to it.  The forecast calls for rain through Saturday.


  1. Nadal better get used to what...playing in the rain on a slippery surface? Are you NUTS? My hat's off to all of the players with the guts to confront officials on the dangers of playing in such conditions. If the rain continues, so be it. Eventually the sun will shine again, the courts will dry and play will resume. Until that time,play should not be an option.

  2. I am very proud of Nadal for speaking his mind on this matter. Player safety should be the most important issue during rainy weather. Go Nadal!!! Old former tennis player------

  3. I agree with the players not playing when the courts are not in perfect shape. They should not have to play on courts that are still wet. It is very dangerous for them.Would the officials play hard core tennis and rish getting hurt?
    As for Serena, yes she is a very good tennis player. But, she needs to have more respect for the umpires and line judges. Twice in the past two years, she was wrong both times and she is not one to sincerely aplogize for her bad behavior. Honestly, if looks could kill, the way she looked at the line judge two years ago, Serena's facial appearance and the way she had her racquet and ball in her hands, she looked like she wanted to do something physical to that poor line judge.She needs to have more respect for the rules of the game. We all learn things everyday. Take some advice from Tony Nadal and learn to move on to the next point. We are all human beings, and we all do not play perfect tennis everyday--we all have days when we play good, but we all have days when we just do not play as well. I liked that Serena seemed very sincere in congratulating Stosur on her tennis