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Mon Sep 22 10:16:06 SAST 2014

Nadal leads revolt over safety at rain-hit US Open

Sapa-AFP | 07 September, 2011 20:54
2011 US Open - Day 10
Rafael Nadal of Spain looks at the rain covered court in Arthur Ashe Stadium before playing his match during Day Ten of the 2011 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 7, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images for USTA)
Image by: Jared Wickerham / Getty Images for USTA

Rafael Nadal lashed out at US Open organisers on Wednesday, claiming players' safety was being put at risk in a desperate effort to make up for lost time at the rain-ravaged Grand Slam.

Defending champion Nadal, world number four Andy Murray and 2003 winner Andy Roddick 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 last-16 matches lasted just 15 minutes before they were hauled off as more rain soaked Flushing Meadows.

"We don't want to go on court if it is raining. If I have to go on court, I go on court, but I think it's not fair," said Nadal, whose match had originally been slated for Tuesday before the whole day's schedule was washed out.

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

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

"It's dangerous. The lines get really slippy. Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it's dangerous," said the Scot.

Roddick, who was 3-1 up on fifth-seeded David Ferrer, joined Nadal and Murray in complaining over having to play on what they claimed were treacherous surfaces.

"I think 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. The back of the courts were still wet," said the American.

"We wanted to make it known we didn't want to be put in that position. I certainly understand they need to put tennis on TV, I understand the business side of it as well, but players need to feel comfortable and safe.

"To Brian Earley's credit, when we did go in there he listened to us. He was very nice in the conversation."

All four women's quarter-finals, two men's quarter-finals and the remaining four men's fourth round matches were all due to be played on Wednesday but the start of play had already been delayed by 90-minutes because of rain.

The other last 16 tie, which had yet to start, saw John Isner facing Gilles Simon.

In women's last eight ties, top seed Caroline Wozniacki, still searching for a first Grand Slam title, takes on Germany's Andrea Petkovic while three-time winner Serena Williams was up against Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Second seed Vera Zvonareva of Russia was facing Australia's Samantha Stosur with unseeded German Angelique Kerber meeting Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

Men's quarter-finals action saw world number one Novak Djokovic playing fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic and five-time champion Roger Federer clashing with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Tuesday's wipeout was the first time both the day and night sessions had been cancelled at the tournament, which does not have covered courts or a stadium with a retractable roof, since 2006.

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Mon Sep 22 10:16:07 SAST 2014 ::