Workers clear water from the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Damp squib

Rain washes out all matches at US Open

Players like Nadal and Murray air safety concerns as organisers attempt to squeeze matches in.

THIS ISN’T FUNNY any more.

All matches at the US Open were called off because of rain yesterday.

After postponing all the men’s matches earlier in the day, tournament officials had been hoping to squeeze in four women’s quarterfinals. But at 8:15 pm, with rain in the forecast for the rest of the night, those matches were scrapped too.

Only 15 minutes of tennis was played yesterday, the second straight day that rain washed out play.

Matches will resume at 3pm Irish time — weather permitting.

Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray had got in about 15 minutes of tennis throughout the day — barely enough to work up a sweat, but more than enough to get into a snit.

“Grand Slams is about a lot of money,” Nadal said in an interview on ESPN after falling behind 3-0 to unseeded Gilles Muller.

“We’re part of the show. They’re just working for that, not for us. They know it’s still raining and call us onto the court. That’s not possible. … I understand the fans are there. But the players are important in this part of the show, too, and we didn’t feel protected.”

After being called off the court when the mist turned into rain, Nadal, Roddick and Murray all went to the tournament director’s office to discuss the situation.

Aware of the criticism, the USTA released a statement, saying there appeared to be a two-hour window without rain in the morning and because of that, officials decided to start play.

“Unfortunately, not all light rain and mist shows up on radar,” the USTA said. “We have experienced referees, and they decide if courts are fit for play. Conditions may be not ideal, but still can be safe. However, if a player or players feel that conditions are unsafe, we listen to them, as we have always done, and the referee uses that information as part of his/her assessment on whether to continue or halt play.”

With rain showers lingering over the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the second straight day, this debate about safety, money, weather and scheduling had to suffice for the afternoon’s, and maybe the evening’s, entertainment.

Murray and Roddick also weighed in.

“It didn’t really make a whole lot of sense in the end to go out for nine or 10 minutes when it’s still raining,” Murray told The Associated Press.

Nadal conceded he let his reluctance get to him, which played into a pair of double-faults in his opening service game and his early 3-0 deficit.

No. 4 Murray was trailing 2-1 to American Donald Young, but on serve. No. 21 Roddick got an early break and led No. 5 David Ferrer 3-1. Roddick was playing in front of a few hundred fans in Louis Armstrong Stadium. He said he spoke to the chair umpire before play began.

“I was just wondering if he saw the same mist in the air that I saw,” Roddick told the AP. “The back was still a little wet. I understand everyone wants to see it on TV and certainly, at the end of the day, we’re a sport, but this whole thing is a business. Everyone here is kind of in the same boat, so they need a product on the court.”

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Associated Foreign Press