THE ATP has criticised the United States Tennis Association’s decision to extend the US Open by a day next year to feature a Monday men’s singles final.
The USTA bowed to player demands to introduce a day between the semi-finals and final of both men’s and women’s singles at the year’s final grand slam but has not fallen into line with the other major events.
The Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon all play the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday, with the women’s final on Saturday and the men’s on Sunday. The USTA had been reluctant to change the US Open’s cherished ‘Super Saturday’, which featured both men’s semi-finals and the women’s final, with the men’s final then scheduled to be played the next day.
But a combination of the schedule, the lack of a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium and the often inclement late-summer weather in New York had forced the men’s final to be played on the third Monday for the last five years, including this year’s epic between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
The ATP, which represents both players and tournaments on the men’s tour, welcomed the introduction of a day in between semi-finals and final but believes the final should stay on Sunday.
A statement read: “By modifying the schedule to allow a rest day between the semi-finals and the final, the US Open has recognised the incredible physical demands of men’s tennis.
“However, the ATP and its players have made it clear to the US Open that we do not support a Monday final.
“We strongly believe the US Open should keep a similar schedule to the other grand slams, with the men’s semi-finals completed by Friday and the final on Sunday.
“It is unfortunate the US Open response did not reflect our views on this issue and the ATP and its players will continue to pursue this matter in its discussions with the USTA.”
The USTA also announced a prize money increase of $4million (just under £2.5million) for next year, double the increase at this year’s tournament. Prize money has been a hot topic over the past couple of seasons, with the players even threatening to strike if the share of revenue distributed in prize money at grand slams was not significantly increased. The ATP welcomed the USTA’s announcement but still believes the players deserve greater reward.
The statement continued: “The prize money increase announced by the US Open for 2013 is appreciated and, together with the 2012 increase, represents the largest increase since the ATP Tour began in 1990. However, over the last nine months the ATP and its players have asked that the US Open fully recognise the fundamental role of the players in driving US Open revenues, which are the largest in our sport.
“The ATP therefore remains committed to continuing discussions on this issue, with the objective of ensuring that the players’ share of the revenues at the US Open truly reflects the value that they generate for the event.”