US Open moves men's final to Monday
NEW YORK (AFP) –
Bowing to pressure from players, the US Open will provide a rest day between next year’s singles semi-finals and finals with the men’s final moving to a Monday, the US Tennis Association said on Friday.
While saying the new schedule is for the 2013 event only, organizers have set a new programme that meets the goal they set last year of providing a full rest day for the men, who before had Saturday semi-finals and Sunday finals.
Rain delays, however, have forced the men’s final to be played on a Monday for the past five tournaments, including this year, when Britain’s Andy Murray won his first major title by beating Novak Djokovic in the final.
Organizers also announced a boost of four million dollars in prize money for the 2013 event, twice the increase made for the 2012 tournament. Total prize money will be $29.5 million, with a 34 percent jump since 2011.
“I’m pleased that the USTA has modified the US Open schedule to include a day of rest between the semi-finals and final,” Murray said.
“Together with the prize money increase, it’s good that they’ve taken on board the players’ concerns.”
The 2013 men’s semi-finals will be staged as in prior years on a Saturday, September 7, and the final will be Monday afternoon. The women’s semis will remain a Friday fixture with that final moving from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, taking the slot previously held by the men’s final.
“Both the prize money increase and the addition of a day of rest are great for the players,” said reigning women’s champion Serena Williams.
“These moves make the tournament stronger than it’s ever been for all players.”
Men’s players had been vocal about needing a rest day between the semis and final after rain caused chaos in scheduling over the final days in the past few years.
“We recognize the increased physicality required to compete at the highest level of the sport, and we have responded to the players’ request for a scheduled day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals,” USTA president Jon Vegosen said.
“The record increase in US Open prize money and the changes in the next year’s schedule are aimed at rewarding the players’ talents and accommodating the rigors of the modern professional game.”