Andy Murray called for changes in the way tennis is run after finally coming through his rain-hit US Open fourth-round clash with Donald Young.
The match, which the fourth seed won 6-2 6-3 6-3, had originally been due to be played on Tuesday but rain washed out the entire day and yesterday only three games were possible as the weather again intervened.
That 15 minutes of play turned out to be the most controversial of the tournament, though, with Murray, Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick all demanding to see tournament referee Brian Earley after being forced to play in what they deemed unsafe conditions.
The US Open has been particularly hard hit by bad weather in recent years, with the men’s final being delayed until Monday for the last three years, and that remains a distinct possibility this time.
The scheduling, with the first round held over three days, the different halves of the draw not playing on the same day and the semi-finals being held the day before the final, makes rain in the second week a huge problem.
Murray believes the players do not have a big enough voice at the grand slams, which are run by the International Tennis Federation rather than the ATP or WTA and where commercial and television interests are at their most persuasive.
The fourth seed said: “Because we have the ATP and the ITF, and they don’t like each other very much, there’s always going to be some issues with Davis Cup, the schedule, the grand slams, and things like what happened yesterday.
“The difference is that for at the ATP tournaments, we have ATP representatives, we have an ATP Tour manager, ATP referees, so they’re there looking out for the players.
“Here we have an ATP Tour manager, who was in the locker room with us beforehand yesterday, and he was saying, ’It’s still raining out there guys. You shouldn’t go out there and play.’
“And then the referees here, it’s different. It’s the ITF. They want us to go out on the court. If it was at an ATP tournament, we wouldn’t have been on the court.”
Murray has called for players and officials to get together after the US Open and debate the issues, and even went so far as to suggest the situation may be a good thing because it has brought the problems to light.
He said: “Think if something happens to a player or the final turns out to be an absolute dead match because someone’s so tired.
“Obviously a lot of flaws have shown up, but it would be time to say, ’Look, this is meant to be one of the biggest matches in tennis, and it’s messed up because of the schedule.’
“I think we should just try and get through it. Hopefully everyone will be okay, and then after the tournament sit down with whoever and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“It isn’t just about this tournament. It’s about all of the slams and tennis in general. There are a lot of things that need to be changed aside from just some of the scheduling here.”
The bottom half of the draw, including the Scot, Nadal and Roddick, have been the hardest hit because they were already a day behind, and whoever eventually reaches the final will have to play four matches in four days.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the top half are due to play their quarter-finals tonight, and Murray is hoping the weather will come to his aid for once.
To much laughter, he said: “I hope it rains tonight, because then everyone is in the same boat. It’s clearly an advantage. Anyone that plays sport will tell you that.”
Of his heavy schedule, he added: “It’s not ideal but that’s what you have to deal with. You’ve just got to get on with it.
“You’ve just got to try and embrace the situation and do all the right things to get yourself ready if you have to play four matches in four days. But I’m still a long way from having to play four matches in four days.”
Wild card Young, once a teenage prodigy, has been one of the stories of the tournament, finally starting to come good at 22.
But Murray clearly handled the situation better than his opponent and on the resumption this morning promptly reeled off seven games in a row.
The 24-year-old was struggling on his serve and at one point in the second set there were four breaks in a row, but Young was making far too many errors and in the end it was a comfortable win for Murray, who next faces another American in 6ft 9in John Isner.
He added: “I was a little bit frustrated in the middle of the second set because I was returning well, hitting the ball well from the back of the court and was giving him chances that I shouldn’t have been just because of not serving well enough.”