September 11, 2009
Editor's note: Former world No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander is writing exclusively for Yahoo! Sports throughout the U.S. Open. The 1988 U.S. Open champ breaks down who's hot and who's not, offering his thoughts courtesy of Lacoste.
I have never been a fan of the scheduling system at the U.S. Open - but you can bet that Rafael Nadal is even less enamored with it.
Nadal's quarterfinal was interrupted Thursday night when the New York heavens opened, meaning he will now have to play on three consecutive days if he wants to win the U.S. Open.
There is nothing the organizers can do about the weather, but the order of play was already skewed too heavily in favor of the players in the top half of the men's field, in this case Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
The players understand the way things are and have come to terms with the fact that the semifinal and final are played on back-to-back days.
Sadly, there have been occasions when it has affected the outcome of the tournament. I witnessed this firsthand in 1985, when I extended John McEnroe to a long five-setter in the semifinal.
McEnroe was a shadow of his normal self against Ivan Lendl the next day, and slipped to a straight-sets defeat in the final.
That sparked the realization that players need to be incredibly fit to be able to win majors and that is the way it should be.
But I feel that the way things are done at the U.S. Open really plays into the hands of Federer, whose style of play takes far less out of him physically than Nadal.
I like the system used at the French Open and Wimbledon, which has far more equality and guarantees that the finalists are competing on a level playing field.