In 2001, the U.S. Open held the womens singles final in the evening, prime time, for the for time in the broadcast history of the Open. This event was almost entirely generated by the immense ratings that occurred during the matches of VENUS and SERENA WILLIAMS in previous televised events.
The ratings went off the charts as tennis out scored top football team and other prime time programming when the womens finals went primes time.
This year, a TV execs nightmare occurred when both VENUS and SERENA withdrew from the main draw of the Open as a result of injuries and the precious ratings were put in serious jeopardy with a possibility of the 2003 Roland Garros reoccurring once again.
A hiccup like this may be tollerated once, but if the WILLIAMS are not in the draw next year, the prime time event will once again, return to the old afternoon broadcast spot.
So this year, for only the second time in seven years, we will not have at least one player named WILLIAMS in the finals and a guaranteed low broadcast rating for poor old CBS.