Nadal leads revolt over safety at rain-hit US Open

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Rafael Nadal
New York, Sep 8: Rafael Nadal lashed out at US Open organisers, claiming players' safety was being put at risk in a desperate attempt to make up for lost time at the chaotic, rain-ravaged event.

Defending champion Nadal, world number four Andy Murray and 2003 winner Andy Roddick on Wednesday joined forces to complain to tournament referee Brian Earley after they were sent out to play on courts that had been battered by almost constant rain.

Their fourth round matches lasted just 15 minutes before they were hauled off as more downpours soaked Flushing Meadows.

Five hours later, all four remaining last-16 matches and two scheduled quarter-finals were cancelled and moved to Thursday as the prospect of a Monday men's final for a fourth successive year edged closer.

Officials were still hoping to complete the four women's quarter-finals later yesterday, spread over four different courts.

"We don't want to go on court if it is raining. I think it's not fair," said 10-time Grand Slam title winner Nadal, whose match had originally been slated for Tuesday before the whole day's schedule was washed out.

The clearly unhappy Spaniard was 3-0 down to Luxembourg's Gilles Muller on a damp Arthur Ashe Stadium when the pair were taken off as conditions deteriorated. 

As he passed on the court, he was overheard to say: "It's the same old story, all you ever care about is money."

Nadal added in an interview with ESPN: "We are not protected. There is a lot of money at the Grand Slams but we are part of the show. They are just working for that and not for us.

"It was still raining when they called us on court. The rain never really stopped, the courts were not dry. I know the fans are there but the health of the players is important."

Murray, who was 2-1 behind America's Donald Young on Grandstand, insisted it was too dangerous to play.

"Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it's dangerous," said the Scot.

"The back of the court was soaking and the balls were wet too. Everyone mentioned it to the officials but they said it was fine. It didn't make sense to go out on court for seven or eight minutes and then come back inside."

Roddick, who was 3-1 up on fifth-seeded David Ferrer on Louis Armstrong Stadium, joined forced with Nadal and Murray.

"If it''s up for discussion if the court's playable or not, then it's not playable. Walking out there it was still misting," said the American.

Nadal, Murray and Roddick now could have to play four days in succession if the men's final is to be played as planned on Sunday. Tournament director Jim Curley said it was still planned to finish the tournament on Sunday.

AFP

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