I'm sorry Helen. You asked that I ignore your first comment but I published it anyway because it gets to the heart of why we Rafa fans, indeed anyone who is a fan of tennis, is upset today.
I usually put on an all news station when I wake up so that I can hear all the news, sports and weather. I was about to doze off when the 10:15a sports report led off blasting the USTA for it's "inexplicable", "indefensible" and in the end "unfair" decision to start the second semi - why was it the second semi anyway - a full hour and a half after the start of the Federer/Djokovic match. The sportscaster went on to say that the USTA is not commenting.
Tropical Storm Hanna did not sneak up on anyone. Everyone and his brother knew it was coming. Even moving the starting time up to 11a was a risk since the weather does what it wants when it wants. The sensible thing to do would have been to cancel play for the day and follow the original schedule on Sunday which everyone knew was going to be bright and sunny, which it is. Someone I know who was a fly on the wall at the meeting where the decisions were made said that CBS wanted play on Saturday afternoon. They also wanted the second match to start later since that would allow them to air it after the Federer match. Only tennis heads would know that what was being broadcast was bullshit and apparently the true fans don't count.
Now they're saying that the storm came before they thought it would. Yeah, right. There was no doubt that the storm would hit during Rafa's match. Anyone who could read a weather map could see it. I guess no one at the USTA can read a weather map huh? I heard one of the talking heads - I think it was Enberg - say that Rafa was scheduled second because he is so popular. Have it your way Dickie.
Rafa had not practiced one second on Armstrong and that was clear. His shots were off, his timing was off, and he was frustrated. He has practiced and played on Ashe.
Sports Illustrated reports on the mini riot that took place with the court change. Nice publicity USTA.
It's no secret that the USTA plays favorites. Many of us still remember the shenanigans they pulled against Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2003 when faced with similar weather issues. The USTA did all they could to favor the American Andy Roddick ensuring that a tired Ferrero took the court in the Final. I guess since they got away with it before they figured they could pull the same crap again. One thing they forgot is that tennis is more popular now, something that the USTA says it wants. I guess they forgot that with increased popularity comes increased scrutiny. No one is going for the okey-doke this time and they are rightly being called for favoritism this time around.
I'm heading out there today. I wasn't even going to post until I got back home but I have to admit I'm really ticked off about what happened yesterday. Forcing fans to chose braving 40mph - 50mph winds on their way home - the wind and rain was horrible last night - in order to see tennis shows what the USTA thinks about it's product, the players, and it's fans. The USTA could have told CBS no, we'll do everything on Sunday. All the baseball in the area was canceled yesterday long before the storm hit. They're playing double headers today. Hell, they even cancelled some NASCAR race in the Maryland area. Now tennis will start at 4p instead of 1p to accommodate the NFL 1p game. Football games tend to run long. I'm just sayin'.
I'm posting a machine translation of an article from the Spanish press which details why the decisions were made the way they were and why the USTA has shown itself to be not ready for prime time when it comes to dealing with network issues.