The USTA is considering major changes to the U.S. Open schedule as part of an effort to get men's finalists of day of rest between the semifinals and finals. A number of options are reportedly being discussed, including moving the men's final to Monday or contesting the men's semifinals on Friday. Busted Racquet looks at some of the possible scheduling scenarios and evaluates the pros and cons of each.
Plan No. 1
Change: Move men's final to Monday
Schedule: Friday (women's semifinals), Saturday (men's semifinals and women's final), Sunday (off), Monday (men's final)
Pros: Keeps Super Saturday in tact.
Cons: An empty day on Sunday. Cuts down to one session on Friday
Odds: Possibility. Leaving an empty day on the calendar would seemingly kill tournament momentum, even if that day coincides with the start of the NFL season and is ignored by most American sports fan anyway. Saturday Saturday is important to the USTA and might be worth saving. It's the only identifiable day of U.S. Open play and draws attention in what's usually a slow day of college football.
Plan No. 2
Change: Move men's final to Monday and women's final to Sunday
Schedule: Friday (women's semifinals), Saturday (men's semifinals), Sunday (women's final), Monday (men's final)
Pros: Women get a day off,
Cons: Lose Super Saturday. Only have one session per day for the last four days of the tournament
Odds: Slim. This is the "spread too thin" option and if there's one thing the USTA doesn't like, it's that.
Plan No. 3
Change: Use scheduling from other Grand Slams
Schedule: Thursday (women's semifinals), Friday (men's semifinals), Saturday (women's final), Sunday (men's final)
Pros: Both sides get a day of rest in between the semifinals and final. Preserves men's final on Sunday.
Cons: See cons from Plan No. 2.
Odds: Slim. The one session problem rears its head again. Since women play best-of-three matches on back-to-back days all season, getting an extra day is far less crucial to them.
Plan No. 4
Change: Move men's semifinals to Friday
Schedule: Friday (women's and men's semifinals), Saturday (women's final), Sunday (men's final)
Pros: Create a spectacular Friday of matches that allows two sessions. (Fantastic Friday, perhaps?) All that's lost is the early Saturday session.
Cons: Men's semifinal action buried on a Friday night instead of showcased on Saturday afternoon.
Odds: Decent. Not only does it make the most sense, but it allows for the fewest dropped session.
Plan No. 5
Pros: Keep Super Saturday.
Cons: Men don't get a day off.
Odds: Better than we probably think. The winds are blowing and something will change soon. The quality of the Djokovic-Nadal final was a sign that giving men's players an extra day of rest makes for better tennis. But better tennis isn't necessarily what it's all about. TV money rightfully plays a big role in the decision-making process and CBS likely wouldn't be happy about either a Monday men's final (in which there will be no NFL lead-in) or a Friday night men's semifinals (nobody watches TV on Friday nights and it would lead to an empty afternoon slate for Saturday, though one which could be filled by college football). At some point, a change will be made. For now, expect status quo and prayers for sunny weather at the 2012 U.S. Open.