On Monday, hours before the start of the men's final of the U.S. Open, we chatted briefly with three-time champion Ivan Lendl.
Busted Racquet: Before 2008, the last time a men's final was played on a Monday was in 1987 when you beat Mats Wilander for your third-straight title. What's it like having to wait through Sunday to find out if you're going to play and then ultimately having to sit an extra day before playing a Grand Slam final?
Ivan Lendl: The guys have a pretty good idea of what was going on yesterday because the referees have radar and they have good forecasts so everyone knew they weren't going to play yesterday. Having said that, you have to be ready to play. You can't just take it for granted and turn it off. You have to stay sharp. Yesterday may have been somewhat similar to 1987 when I was very sick and I don't know that I could have played very well that day and needed the extra rest. I think Djokovic after the semifinals was very pleased that it got rained out and he got an extra 24 hours.
BR: What's the biggest benefit Djokovic will get with the break?
IL: You get a mental lift knowing that you feel better and I'm pretty sure he was shot physically yesterday and tired mentally from that tough, tough match he played against Roger Federer.
BR: Nadal goes for the career Slam today. If he were to win, where do you rank him all-time?
IL: He's moving up there, he would have achieved something not too many have with a career Slam, but I'm not a guy who likes to talk about ranks. Once he's done with the career we can look at it and it's a little easier, unless he gets to the way top like Roger and we can talk about it earlier.
BR: What are the keys for him today against Djokovic?
IL: I think he's going to try to exploit the fact that Djokovic is physically tired and he's going to see and find out how tired he is. I still think the more physical the match is, it's more in Rafa's favor.
BR: How do you think you in your prime would have fared in today's game?
IL: Why don't you take the 100-meter time in 1987 in track and field and put it against the top today? You can't expect athletes 25 years ago to compete with anyone.
BR: Do you ever watch the clips, especially around this time?
IL: I don't watch them, I don't have time for them. I could pull the tapes out but don't have time for it.
BR: How has technology -- from the size and make of the rackets to the shortness of the shorts -- changed the game?
IL: It hasn't changed the game too much, but it has changed it a bit. But the shorts didn't change the game. [Laughs]
- Ivan Lendl