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http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2003-09-02/200309021062541478861.html

dunno if u read it or not but :devil:


ARLEN KANTARIAN, Chief Executive Professional Tennis USTA;

JIM CURLEY, US Open Tournament Director;

BRIAN EARLEY, US Open Tournament Referee;

DAVID NEWMAN Managing Director, Marketing Communications USTA;

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Okay, welcome, everybody. Thanks for coming. Obviously, we want to first thank you for your patience throughout the past couple of days.

Once again, welcome to New York and the summer that never was.

I'm told we are up to roughly an inch of rain in the past couple of days. The forecast right now is not all that optimistic, as I'm sure you've been hearing.

All of us here are working hard with one top priority, and that is to finish this tournament this weekend on Sunday, as scheduled. We thought it would be helpful to pull everybody together with the folks up here that could answer any questions you might have with regards to the challenges that this group faces, in particular our referee, BrianEarley, who you'll hear from shortly.

I think the last time -- I'm told the last time we extended the US Open beyond the final weekend was in 1987 when we had a wash-out on Sunday with the Wilander-Lendl match. I believe prior to that, I'm told, the longest we've ever extended this tournament was back in 1938 when we saw - or when they saw - a hurricane hit the tournament. I believe that it was completed on Wednesday of that week.

As you all know, rain affects every part of this tournament. Certainly, our focus and our priority is with the players and is with the fans. We'll address both of those issues and how we're handling that through your questions, we hope.

As I mentioned, from a scheduling standpoint, we do fully intend at this point to complete the tournament Sunday. There will, I'm sure, be a lot of unanswered questions today. We're going to take this one day at a time and have a number of constituencies that we have talked to, that we will continue to talk to over the next couple of days.

With regards to our fans, the inclement weather policy that we did adjust last year has been in effect, including yesterday; will be in effect today. I believe the time in which that weather policy comes into effect is 5 p.m.; is that correct?

JIM CURLEY: Correct.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: So if we do not start play by 5 p.m. today, the inclement weather policy will be in effect, meaning they will be able to exchange the tickets they purchased at Ticketmaster or the box office for the same session, comparable location next year.

We have added a benefit to that as well, as we did yesterday, which is we will also give them the option to attend any of the day matches tomorrow and/or Thursday.

With that in mind, I think you all know Jim Curley, our tournament director; Brian Earley, our referee; DavidNewman, who runs not only press operations but also is in charge of marketing and communications, also really heads up what we do with the fans under situations like this.

So what I'd like to do is just turn it over to Brian for a couple opening comments on scheduling, then open it up to any questions you might have.

BRIAN EARLEY: Arlen, you covered all the scheduling issues, you've kind of stolen my thunder, no pun intended.

Really, when Arlen says we intend to finish these particular events on the days that they're scheduled, that goes to the heart of what it is we do in the scheduling office.

More than one reporter has asked, "Would we play players every day, as opposed to every other day," and the answer is yes. The players understand that. We have an excellent, excellent group of players. They are willing to play when and where we ask. I mean, it is just a really, really good group of people who try to stay in touch with the referee's office, try to stay in touch with the tournament director.

If we give them good information, we get that back in spades from them. They become more and more willing to play in a little bit different place, to play a little bit different time, to stay here as late as they have to, to hang around all day.

If we do it from the referee's office, a good job of communicating to them, the status of where they are and where we are with getting these matches played, we really get good cooperation from them.

So, you know, congratulations to them. They've just been a great group under very, very trying circumstances.

Having said all of that, am I throwing this out for questions yet or do we want to wait?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: No, I think we can open it up for any questions you may have. Obviously, there's some -- optimism will continue, there's disappointment that this is happening, particularly after a record week. I think you're all aware of the continual records that this tournament broke week one, including the largest attendance ever after Sunday's half-way point of this tournament.

So we open it up for questions.

Q. Arlen, have you reached a point in your discussions with your team where if the rain continues, even into tomorrow, there is a contingency plan for cancelling - not postponing, but cancelling certain events here, senior events, Juniors doubles, etc.? If so, is there a priority list of who you cancel?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I'll let the referee handle that question.

BRIAN EARLEY: We are not at that point yet. We have had just very preliminary questions about that particular kind of thing.

I think it would be premature to go there except to say as we get later in events -- and, you know, this again is contingent on our playing, as we get later in events, we have fewer and fewer conflicts. I also will tell you the Juniors are quite willing to play two matches in a day, three matches in a day, as are the seniors.

Remember, most of the senior events are only two sets and a tiebreak. Quite frankly, the doubles they play is not exactly taxing (laughter).

I'm sorry.

DAVID NEWMAN: What he meant to say was... (Laughter) senior tennis, doubles tennis, consistent with our mission (laughter).

BRIAN EARLEY: I promised you I wouldn't put my foot in my mouth. I've already done it.

Q. Who will your replacement be, Brian?

BRIAN EARLEY: (Laughter).

ARLEN KANTARIAN: It is early, though. With the number of courts we have, to the degree we get some good weather, we can play catchup pretty quickly. Obviously, that's dependent on one full day and one full night, regardless of how far behind we are, we can play catchup in almost a day to a day and a half's time, given all the courts. You saw that happen last year.

BRIAN EARLEY: We have lighting on every court, so...

Q. Would you say, providing you had clear weather from Thursday onwards, you shouldn't have any problems? The players might have to play more often than they want to, but as far as finishing?

BRIAN EARLEY: If we're given Thursday, Friday, Saturday - remember, we have four rounds to play on both events, both singles events - yes.

I would say, without sticking my neck out too far, that we give priority to singles, okay. I don't want to stick my neck too far out there because there are situations where doubles have to be played.

But I think our focus is the singles, but we have every confidence we'll finish all of the events on time. Then we'll evaluate it from day-to-day.

Q. What are the weather people telling you about, for instance, the rest of today and tomorrow?

BRIAN EARLEY: Well, right now, we subscribe to three different weather services. One says, actually, that it's 10 percent from today on, I mean, from today through tonight.

What we're seeing out there is not on the radar. It's not on anybody's radar screen. What they keep telling me is the conditions are right for mist. Well, they're very right for mist because that's what we're getting.

As you know, we can't play in this.

Q. You won't run out of towels (laughter)?

BRIAN EARLEY: (Smiling). Was that a rhetorical question?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Is there more to that question?

Q. What was learned from the situation with Agassi's match the other day and how might it be handled differently if you had a chance to do it differently?

DAVID NEWMAN: Why don't we just talk to the last couple of days. The players have been here, the players want to play, the fans want to watch them play, and we'd like to play.

In the player's locker room, in the player's lounge, the discussions have been taking place with players. Want to talk to that?

BRIAN EARLEY: What you try to do is put yourself out there, kind of get input from the players, make sure they know your office is open and they can speak to you.

Sometimes they ask silly questions but the important thing is that the line of communication remains open.

So, having said that, you just make yourself available and you take all the input and we get together and make our decisions.

Q. Would the decision have been the same if you had to do it all over again about the scheduling of his match?

DAVID NEWMAN: I think it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback.

BRIAN EARLEY: I'd rather not answer that question. I think it's so easy to look back and say two or three different things. There's always different options. We did what we thought was best at the time.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: The history of this match in those situations has been such that when we move into the night session, we typically suspend play. I would say we would, in fact, do the same thing, but that we would also confer with the players at an early time.

While the decision would be the tournament management's decision, fairness of play is priority one. Fairness to the fans is priority two. We tend to go from there.

I don't think any two situations are identical, and they need to be dealt with on a one-off basis.

Q. Arlen, coming from the country of the (inaudible) Grand Slam as they do, may I ask you if there are any regrets you didn't put a roof on the new stadium? Are there any plans to do it at some later date?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I saw PaulMcNamee about ten minutes ago. I said, "Did you bring your retractable roof with you?"

We're very jealous of that situation, at least at this point in the tournament.

The stadium was built and completed in 1997 without plans for a roof. It was, I think, prior to any of us here, other than Brian Earley.

BRIAN EARLEY: I wasn't consulted. I wasn't the referee. I was not the referee.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: We have initiated, just hired some master planners, MBBJ, that you have heard about, that have done a tremendous amount of work for stadiums and venues in this country. One of the many, many reasons is to take a more in-depth look at whether or not it's feasible, both structurally and financially, to put a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium. It is not in the plans today. But we would never say never.

It is certainly a costly situation, a much more costly situation after a venue has been built, and then contemplate whether or not a roof would make sense. If you look at the 122-year history of this event, and trace the weather - and I'm more familiar with the 12-year history where this is only the second year in 12 years we've ever had any cancelled sessions - it certainly would not make sense based on that history.

That doesn't mean we'd rule it out. The only way I think we could justify it is if we also felt this stadium could be used year-round for additional tennis events, other sporting events, etc., etc. That feasibility study will be conducted.

Q. Is there a pretournament contingency plan with CBS? Does it come up like on Thursday night when you haven't finished this round that you say, "We played Monday, what time do we play Monday, do we go for Monday night?" What happens there?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: The only contingency plan that really is well-defined is that if there's a washout Sunday, we typically hold that final on that Monday late afternoon.

Other than that, we play these things -- haven't had to deal with it, but we would typically play this on a day-to-day basis.

Those discussions with CBS, I'm sure, will be initiated as soon as tonight, depending on what happens with today's weather. They have not been initiated yet.

Q. Is it possible to start the matches earlier? Could you start matches at 9 or 10 in the morning?

BRIAN EARLEY: That really doesn't buy us anything. That really doesn't change anything. If you think about it, if somebody's in three events, you're talking about first, third and fifth, we have those available.

Typically, if we are accommodating to a doubles match, remember we have enough courts to spread out to play. It's not, again, a question of length of day. Length of day we have because of the lights. I don't foresee us, you know -- in the time that I've been here, which is 21 years, we have never started, that I remember, before 11 o'clock for reasons that we were behind in the schedule.

I know we have started earlier than that for other reasons, but not for reasons that we were behind in the schedule.

Q. Brian, last night you had a moment where you were on court with Justine. She wanted to keep playing. You kind of said, "You know you can't play in this." We know all the policies. Can you talk a little bit about the emotions of you when you're out there, the players, when they're out there, they've been here all day, they want to play, but it's a safety issue.

BRIAN EARLEY: What it started with was I asked her if she thought it was raining. Because I said, "I really can't tell, but it feels like it is. I want to make sure. I'm willing to have you stay."

She said, "No, no, we want to play. We want to play."

It puts you in a tough position. I go back to the Mary Joe and Venus thing that happened many years ago. So I have been so conservative since that time. I've actually, you know, said, "Look, we're just not going out there."

Last night she said, "It's not raining hard enough."

I said, "Well, yeah, yeah. Everybody wants to play. I'm not seeing a lot of water on the court, let's go. But you've got to stop if you feel it's dangerous."

You know, I stood out there for a little bit then said, "Okay."

Again, the players don't make the decision but they do have input. We do communicate with them. That was kind of a fun, you know, a fun thing. But by the same token, we've really got to look out for their safety.

Q. Can you talk about that too, Arlen, the emotional element for you guys and the players, how frustrating this has been.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: You know, it's tough. But I'll tell you, the cooperation level from the players has been tremendous. Jim and Brian have done a great job keeping people alive and well and entertained in that players' lounge. I don't know if you've been able to make it up there.

That helps us. I think that this group feeds off the reaction of the players and of the fans. We had fans - for those of you that were in the stadium last night, the fans that stayed with us were cheering every time we made an announcement as to what the USTA's policy was. I don't know if I saw you in that Congo dance up in the aisles in Arthur Ashe, but we were really having fun last night. This group feeds off that.

If we can keep the players happy, if we can keep the fans happy, we're happy.

So far, so good.

So hats off to the players and to this New York crowd and to the media.

Q. You mentioned a feasibility study with Ashe stadium. Have you looked into or will you look into the other stadiums also? Also maybe even the indoor practice courts?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: It's a good question.

First of all, in terms of practice courts, one of the reasons we brought in a master planner was to look at the renovation, restructuring, possibly rebuilding of our current indoor tennis facility out by the east gate. Certainly a priority for us, not only for the Open and indoor practice courts, but also for year-round play with an additional five to six courts.

It does introduce an interesting alternative that if we were to cover one of the stadiums, that maybe it not be Arthur Ashe Stadium, maybe it be Louis Armstrong, the grandstand court, so we can keep at least one show court from a television standpoint or otherwise, going.

Good question. That is a fall-back that will be part of the feasibility study.

Q. Arlen or Brian, what would be the drop-dead date by which you can't complete the tournament on Sunday and you really have to look at extending it?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I'm not sure we know that today. Brian, do you want to take a shot?

BRIAN EARLEY: The rule of thumb is that you play a singles match, the most you can play is one singles match in a day - that doesn't mean that we wouldn't, you know, as pieces of matches are played. We've played pieces of matches and then gone on to play a second singles match in a day.

Again, you have to, you know, the rule of thumb is one thing; and then what really happens is another.

I don't really think we can go there yet.

Q. You used the expression 10 percent from today to tonight. Are you talking about a 10 percent chance of continued rain or 10 percent chance of no rain?

BRIAN EARLEY: Sounds like... I'm just saying they were -- the one forecast said 10 percent chance of showers. When I called them and asked them, he said, "Yeah, it's a 10 percent chance of showers but the conditions are right for what you have now."

That was the point I was making, that the weather forecast is one thing, but what we have can be somewhat different.

Q. If you're in a frantic situation, would you schedule...

BRIAN EARLEY: Frantic what?

Q. Catch-up situation, would you schedule a separate night session for Friday and sell tickets for it, or would you just continue playing on? Have you thought about that yet?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I think that's one of those one-day-at-a-time questions. That is not the current plan. In a situation like this, that we've never been in before, we would never say "never." It's crossed our mind as a possibility. I don't think we'll have to address whether that's necessary or not till at least another 24 hours from now.

Q. From an economic standpoint, how much does a wash-out cost the USTA?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I don't have those numbers offhand. It's a question that lends itself to the ticket exchange policy, food/beverage concessions, etc., etc.

I'll give you a two-word answer and leave it at that - a lot.

Q. Given that your situation is going to be exacerbated with the weather, are you seriously reviewing "Super Saturday"? You talk about putting the players' needs first. So many of them come in here and say it's ridiculous to play two men's semis, one first, one last, then play the final. Do you think it's time to review the situation?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Yes, we think it's been time to review that for a while now, as you know. It doesn't have much to do with the rain situation. But, certainly from a player fairness standpoint, I know Brian's been for investigating that, and as you know, I think in the next year, we will continue to discuss that issue with our television partners.

We are for it from a player perspective. We do think the Saturday, "Super Saturday" situation with regards to what used to be one-day session event, two men's finals and two men's semis and the women's finals, is now advantageous to the women and the fans. It gave the women more rest between matches, one of several benefits.

That's step one.

We will continue to look at different scheduling options, continue to take a look at that.

Q. Would you consider reducing best-of-five to best-of-three?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Brian, want to discuss that? Are you talking about best-of-five, best-of-three in the men's singles?

BRIAN EARLEY: As you know, it has been done often in the men's doubles in other Grand Slams. We no longer play best-of-five. When we did, we played best-of-three on several occasions when we got backed up.

We haven't even gone there. We haven't even talked about it. I feel that a Grand Slam men's singles title deserves best-of-five sets all the way through. That would only be -- I'm only one part of the equation. That is the subject that we, hopefully, won't have to broach.

I'm just giving you my kind of candid...

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I think that's a very strong Grand Slam view throughout as well.

Q. The women's finals scheduled for Saturday night, the men's on Sunday, you didn't answer before about the drop-dead situation. If we don't have, by Friday, finished the men's quarterfinals and the women's semifinals, aren't we going to have to extend it? Are we forced to extend it at some point?

BRIAN EARLEY: Certainly would make sense to do that. Again, if we have pieces of matches finished and so on, and, you know, that's a contingency plan we will sit down and make in the next couple days as we get there.

I really don't want to etch anything in stone until we're faced with it.

Q. Is this also a situation to reconsider running the first round over three days instead of two?

BRIAN EARLEY: Remember that the first round over three days is very much tied to the Saturday and Sunday playing seven matches in 14 days, and the Saturday-Sunday semis and finals.

Why we have a Saturday semi and a Sunday final, it makes very good sense to play a first round over three days. I don't know that this press conference is the place to go into that too much in depth but I'm happy to answer those questions, just maybe at another time.

I think it's a great scenario. It's excellent for the fans. It creates a second Tuesday where we have men's and women's tennis in the day and night. Men's and women's singles in the day and in the night.

Other than just going there, you know...

Q. I know you said you have completed a partial match and then go on to play a whole match in the same day. Would you consider playing two full matches in the same day, for particularly the men who would be playing best-of-five?

BRIAN EARLEY: Never gone there.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Never say never.

BRIAN EARLEY: I never say never. Hard for me to imagine that, but then again I've never been in this situation, so...

Q. You have reliable weather reports for Thursday on?

DAVID NEWMAN: Does anyone?

BRIAN EARLEY: Does anyone, that's the question. As you see, we're stuck in this trough here. The conditions, you know, are such that it doesn't look like rain and we're not playing.

We're being told it's gonna be a beautiful weekend Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Q. What about tonight? Thursday, Brian?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yeah, Thursday I'm hearing both. Thursday's kind of the break day, you know.

Q. What about tonight, if there's a possibility to play, will Roddick play or will someone play from the top half?

BRIAN EARLEY: Remember, we can spread people out, so we might play -- if there's a chance to play, we might play everybody. We might play everybody. Play all the way down the line.

We have terrific lights. We have umpires here ready to go. We have ball kids, facilities. We're all set to go. It doesn't mean that the matches that are scheduled in Arthur Ashe will be in Arthur Ashe. I'm not speaking for the tournament here. I'm just speaking from a referee's point. We want to get the matches played and we have lovely courts to play them in.

Q. What's the latest a match can start?

BRIAN EARLEY: We've started matches as late as 11 o'clock. We started a best-of-five at 11:05. I don't know who was here for that. Mr. Pernfors and Mr. Wilander played until 2:15.

Q. 2:26.

BRIAN EARLEY: I knew somebody would know this. We started them at maybe 11:05. It's 11:00ish. But, you know, again, you have people now who want to play. The players, again, have been so cooperative. They really are eager to play. It's a question of playing two matches in a day or starting a match and finishing a match, they're here and they want to play if the weather is right and we have a court for them.

My guess is that they're gonna be very cooperative.

Q. Brian, last night Pierce and Myskina didn't start until quarter past 11. You had so many people tied up drying the court. Why do you not cover the court? Surely that would make it quicker, you could make better use of the time.

BRIAN EARLEY: Was that something Danny was going to answer?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: We have our head of our facilities here, Danny Zausner. I can tell you that between Brian and Danny and myself, we've addressed this on several occasions. We will continue to address it. I think the history of the event has been the system that's in place now in addition to some, I guess, airblowers that we have recently provided as well.

The question of tarp, the question of the tented type of tarp used at Wimbledon, has come up. Brian or Jim, I don't know if you want to address that, or Danny?

DANNY ZAUSNER: There are some issues with that court as far as our surface. It's definitely smaller than other Grand Slams. We are and will continue to investigate it. The reality is we've had more rain in the last two years than the last 10 years combined. It's something that's new to us. It's not being ignored, I'll assure you that.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I am told that there could potentially be a three- to four-minute pickup in terms of time had we had tarps. I think the conclusion at least at this point, that the referee and others have come to, is does that three to four minutes, if in fact that is the time savings, warrant the type of tarp on the sidelines of the court or not.

I think that's the question.

To the degree it can help us save more time than three to four minutes, I think we would be more serious about investigating that.

Q. Isn't this a city that never sleeps? Why not a midnight, all-night program?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Won't meet the deadlines.

BRIAN EARLEY: That's right. That's good.

RANDY WALKER: Anything else? Okay. Thank you all.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports...
 
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Q. Is it possible to start the matches earlier? Could you start matches at 9 or 10 in the morning?

BRIAN EARLEY: That really doesn't buy us anything. That really doesn't change anything. If you think about it, if somebody's in three events, you're talking about first, third and fifth, we have those available.

Typically, if we are accommodating to a doubles match, remember we have enough courts to spread out to play. It's not, again, a question of length of day. Length of day we have because of the lights. I don't foresee us, you know -- in the time that I've been here, which is 21 years, we have never started, that I remember, before 11 o'clock for reasons that we were behind in the schedule.

I know we have started earlier than that for other reasons, but not for reasons that we were behind in the schedule.
I have to disagree with this though. He says they have enough courts, so that enough matches can go on at the same time. But had they started earlier today, they could have played for about an hour. It was dry until a few minutes ago. Length of day does matter.
 

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Wow, Brian Earley is an ass!

As for this whole "it wouldn't make sense, historically, to have a roof and/or tarps" -- uh, last year, this year, how much more history do you need? All the Slams should have some sort of plan to deal with the rain, whether it comes or not.

Also -- playing men's first round over 3 days has been a HUGE mistake ever since they started doing that. No other Slam does it; the only reason the US Open does it is because of TV. Yeah, that's really putting the players first :rolleyes:

Agree with you, Beguine, that starting at 9 or 10 am would have at least got the ball rolling today.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hurley said:
Thanks for putting me back to sleep :yawn: ;)

you could have done something useful like drying the courts :p
 

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Discussion Starter #9
more BS from the organisers :eek:
ARLEN KANTARIAN, Chief Executive Professional Tennis USTA

JIM CURLEY, US Open Tournament Director

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I wish I could say I was happy to see you all here again. Thanks again for your patience.

As mentioned yesterday, we continue to make our best effort to complete this tournament on time. That challenge, of course, has gotten all the more challenging. However, we have just come out of a two and a half hour meeting, and we are determined to make the best of a very difficult situation.

I'll inform you as to what our plans are, not only with regards to the assumption that there be a rain delay or rain-out tonight, but we're thinking ahead, and I will give you our current plans, at least, should we have bad weather tomorrow.

This situation has achieved one thing, and that is that the tennis community has clearly pulled together over the last half a day. As I say, we've been locked in a room with the WTA, with the ATP, certainly our tournament officials, our international television broadcasters, our domestic television broadcasters. We've asked their advice, for their support. They've been absolutely supportive and tremendous under these circumstances.

I want to take the opportunity to thank them. USA Network, CBS, again, many, many international broadcasters, and first and foremost, our players, ATP and WTA.

We have addressed the best means to achieve both fairness and competition - fairness to our fans, again, fairness to a world-wide television audience, not only the fans that have been our tried and true ticketholders. To that end, we're going to advise you of what the current plan is at this moment.

First, of course, as you probably already heard, today's session has been cancelled. The inclement weather policy is now in effect. In addition to that policy, all ticketholders for today's matches can apply the face value of their ticket for any session during the week, either tomorrow day, tomorrow evening, or Friday day.

What I want to do is give you our plans first with the assumption that tonight's - not to get ahead of ourselves - but with the assumption tonight's session is, in fact, going to be cancelled.

Our plan tomorrow, and our schedule tomorrow, will include the following: first and foremost, completion of the women's Round of 16 where we have two matches yet to be completed. The Sugiyama-Schiavone match as well as the Pierce-Myskina match will be first on tomorrow. Jim Curley will give you more details behind that.

Secondly, we will look to complete tomorrow during the day the men's Round of 16. Matches will be played in the appropriate courts in order to get the Round of 16 in for the day session tomorrow.

Tomorrow's night session will include two of the quarterfinal women's matches, which, again, Jim Curley, our tournament director, will confirm with you in a moment.

That's tomorrow's line-up. Basically, we want to get the women's quarterfinals and the men's Round of 16 in with the men certainly playing in the day.

Looking at Friday's schedule, we're announcing the addition of a night session for Friday night. As you know, we have the day session already planned originally for the women's semifinals between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m..

That 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. session will now consist of the men's quarterfinals matches, between the hours of 11 and 6 p.m..

The night session, start time to be determined, roughly 7, 7:30 p.m., will then consist of the women's semifinals matches.

We are continuing our discussions with our television partners. We hopefully will announce shortly, probably not until tomorrow, when and where that would be televised. That discussion continues to take place.

In addition to that, we will be communicating frequently with our ticket buyers through radio, hopefully through the media here, on air, and we will continue to apply our inclement weather policy across the board. The fans have been terrific. I hope you've all seen them on the court, chanting for more tennis.

One last comment, and I'll turn it over to Jim. Should we see inclement weather tomorrow, the plan is to take exactly what we went through and push it all back by one day, which, in effect, would mean a Monday men's final. Therefore, on Friday, we have the men's Round of 16, the women's quarters. Saturday, men's quarters during the day session on Saturday; Saturday night, originally planned for the women's finals, would be the women's semifinals. Sunday would be the men's semifinals, then the women's finals. Then Monday, the men's finals.

That is subject to change. I'm just trying to give you an insight as to where we might go should tomorrow be rained out as well.

So not to get ahead of ourselves, that schedule is subject to change. That's the initial thinking. Players have been advised of our tentative plans. All players, other than tonight's night session, have been sent home and they've been advised of the plans that I just advised you on as well.

So what has become a tremendous challenge on the downside, weather permitting, we hope to have a tennis bonanza over the next four or five days.

I'm going to turn it over to Jim Curley, who will give you a little more detail on the schedule.

JIM CURLEY: Well, we're working on tomorrow's schedule as we speak. The initial plan for the show courts, that you might be interested in, for Arthur Ashe, it will be the completion of the Kim Clijsters-AmelieMauresmo match, followed by Lindsay Davenport and Paola Suarez.

On the assumption that the Roddick-Malisse match does not take place this evening, that match would be third up on ArthurAshe tomorrow.

On Armstrong we would start with the Sugiyama-Schiavone match, the Round of 16 match, which I believe it's 5-4 in the second. That would be to finish. Followed by Juan Carlos Ferrero and Todd Martin, also to finish. Followed by DavidNalbandian and RogerFederer.

In the Grandstand, to finish, Srichaphan and Hewitt. Followed by Moya and El Aynaoui.

I think that's been the focus of our scheduling meetings on the singles. The rest of the schedule, as I say, is being worked on right now. We'll have that for you, hopefully, very soon.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: At this point we'll take any questions you might have.

Q. The plan would be then to finish the two incomplete fourth-round women's matches during the day and have them play those quarterfinals tomorrow night?

JIM CURLEY: That is correct.

Q. What would happen to the women's prime-time final if it moved to Sunday?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: In other words, if it rains tomorrow?

Q. On television, yeah.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: That's a situation that we're not yet prepared to address. We don't know, and still under discussion with our TV partners.

I gave you that information, again, a day ahead of time to give you some insight, but a lot to be addressed tonight. We'll be working through the night on that.

Q. If it's bumped till Monday, would the men's final still be at 4 p.m.?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: To be determined. Probably late afternoon, but time to be determined.

Q. What's the situation for ticketholders who now might be facing a cancelled session or ones who would be coming today who had cancelled sessions?

DAVID NEWMAN: People that have had tickets for cancelled sessions have the opportunity to exchange their tickets at face value for any of the sessions going forward right through the finals, whenever they may be completed. That will remain true.

Needless to say, with the amount of rain that we have had, it has affected our ability to accommodate those who maybe came from Monday on Tuesday, Tuesday on Wednesday, etc.

The best place for fans - we ask if you can help us with this - is just to direct everyone to US Open.org. It has specific information on the inclement weather policy. It is crystal clear there, and it will be reported as such very accurately if you help us with that.

Q. If there's nice weather tomorrow, will there suddenly be a bunch-up where all the fans from last few days will be arriving on the same day?

DAVID NEWMAN: As discussed previously, the tickets and the accommodation of those displaced ticketholders is on a first-come, first-serve and on a limited basis. We hope we can accommodate as many as possible. That's what we look forward to for the balance of the weekend.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: The good news is that I think we're in a position to accommodate them, given all the marquee match-ups we'll have, not only on Arthur Ashe but Louis Armstrong, Grandstand courts, etc.

The good news is to the degree we can play tomorrow, we believe we'll be able to accommodate more fans than just those tickets left in Ashe stadium.

Q. If weather doesn't allow you to complete all of the Round of 16 matches tomorrow, do you automatically go into the mode of bumping everything ahead a day?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: As you would imagine, this is a rolling calendar at this point that is changing, to a large degree, by the hour.

It is very difficult to hypothetically assess what might come into play. I think there is eight different contingencies that we would need to know to answer that question, one being the weather forecast, of course. I think to speculate would be difficult on every imaginable situation.

Q. For players who are still in both singles and doubles - like Clijsters, Sugiyama - has there been a maximum cap on the number of matches they would be expected to finish in one day?

JIM CURLEY: I'm not aware of a maximum cap that we can expect them to play. Our first and foremost priority is to complete the singles, and we are going to do our best to get the doubles completed after we take the singles into consideration.

Q. Why did you cancel all the matches for tonight except for two?

JIM CURLEY: That's correct.

Q. Why? Why did you leave two open?

JIM CURLEY: I'm sorry, I missed...

Why did we leave...

Q. Only two matches open for tonight.

JIM CURLEY: For the pairings? For tonight?

Q. You cancelled everything except the Roddick and Schuettler match.

JIM CURLEY: That's correct. We're keeping them here because they're in the same pairings.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: If the question is why didn't we schedule more matches tonight, is that the question?

Q. Why did you skip the rest of the matches and leave those two open?

JIM CURLEY: Well, Roddick was scheduled at 7 o'clock tonight. He's still scheduled at 7 o'clock tonight. In his pairing is the Schuettler-Schalken match, okay. So we keep both of them so we maintain the pairings.

So with regards to why did we release everyone else - is that your question - by releasing them now, that allows us to create our schedule for tomorrow. If we keep everyone here too late tonight, we can't bring people back early tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.

Q. Arlen, I would presume that, if necessary, the women's semis would go into the Saturday night prime-time slot; is that correct? Secondly, I know it's a tough question, but do you have any sensibility on what kind of financial implications all this weather will have?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: The first answer to your question is yes. The second answer to your question is a lot (laughter).

Q. What does "a lot" mean? A pretty significant amount?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: We have not yet assessed that. We'll have a lot of work to do after the tournament. Our priorities right now are the schedule and the players and the fans. That is a lengthy exercise that we will contemplate after we get through the tournament.

Q. You seem to be dealing with small windows when it's not raining. Can you tell me why, A, you wouldn't start at 9 o'clock in the morning, for example; and, B, if you do get some windows, why wouldn't you use all the courts to get all your matches in as opposed to lining them up one after another after another, so if you get a small window you could get a lot more in?

JIM CURLEY: Well, we're not lacking for courts. Brian, do you want to answer this one?

BRIAN EARLEY: We have people that have been here late. I mean, it's not just a matter of cranking up the courts at 9 in the morning and just playing away. It's a professional event. It's a Grand Slam. We're doing the best we can.

We still are obligated on some of these matches to have them televised. We have international TV contracts, so several can go on what we consider televised or show courts. There's lots of things that go into that.

The other thing is if you do that, in other words if you have 16 matches to play, you put them on 16 courts, and you have a program, ticketholders who come, suddenly it's a nice day, you play one match on each of 16 courts, then what do you have?

I'm not trying to be facetious. You want to put a good program together.

Q. Some of the players were talking to us, they were confused about why someone like Andre Agassi, who would be playing to get into the quarterfinals when the other people weren't, or why Kim Clijsters would go on this morning when you had two women's fourth-round matches that haven't finished yet would be playing first.

JIM CURLEY: There are a lot of factors. When you get into a situation like we're in right now, a lot of factors come into play. We're doing the best we can in the situation that we have.

The Clijsters-Mauresmo match was an appropriate match to have on Ashe. You had a match that - I'm trying to remember what courts we had with Pierce and Myskina.

BRIAN EARLEY: Courts 4 and 10 are the courts we're talking about. Those matches, they kept hanging around here trying to play until late, late, late last night.

The only thing, the only fair thing, was to bring them back not before 1 o'clock today, which is what we did. We had the courts ready at 1. Just the window closed like that (snapping).

Q. The players themselves were saying they were confused. They were willing to play. They would rather play today than extend to tomorrow. Certainly, Brian, they appreciate your concern. They were curious whether it was just because of television or just because of show courts that some of the earlier-round matches were getting played or scheduled later than some of the later-round matches of star players?

JIM CURLEY: We're not ahead two rounds anywhere, correct?

BRIAN EARLEY: Well, if they had played, I suppose they would be ahead; but they're not because they didn't play. You're talking about the two quarters, they would be ahead.

Remember, we released them at an early enough time last night that we could bring them back early. Again, you need to make a program. You need to start with a good match, and so we released -- so the quarters were released early enough so we could bring them back early. The two unfinished matches were just so, so late. You remember what time they were. I don't have to tell you. To bring them back first on would have been terribly unfair.

We did have the court ready, like I said. This morning we took that into consideration when it was raining. We pulled off the matches in front of them in order to give them every possibility of play.

JIM CURLEY: Exactly.

BRIAN EARLEY: It started sprinkling at 1 o'clock.

JIM CURLEY: This is something that wasn't done in a vacuum. This was something that was done in conjunction with the WTA Tour. As Brian said, we kept them very late. It's very normal for us to bring them back second on when we kept them that late.

As I said, that was not a decision made in a vacuum. It was done in conjunction with the tour.

Q. On the added Friday night schedule, since no tickets have been printed for that session, who would have the first priority for ticketholders for that: people who have women's semifinals tickets in the first place, or first-come?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: At this point, and, again, subject to change, but at this point our feeling is the day session, current day session ticketholders on Friday, those will continue to be the tickets honored for the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. session.

For the Friday night session, our thought right now is to the degree tonight's session is washed out, Wednesday night's tickets - again, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves because we do not yet have a cancelled session - tonight's tickets would be those that would be honored for Friday night.

Q. You made the comment, Jim, you're not lacking in courts. Again, I guess this goes back to the fact you're dealing in very small, short windows of available time at the moment. Although you're not lacking in courts, you do seem to be lacking in people ready to clear the courts for play. Is that a problem?

JIM CURLEY: We have addressed that issue. If you followed what we had this morning, we've increased the number of squeegees we have available on all the major show courts. We've increased the number of tournament ops individuals. We've enlisted the assistance from ball kids. I don't think that was an issue at all as far as today's play was concerned.

DAVID NEWMAN: In addition, certainly with the rain that we had today, it really wouldn't matter. It's pretty much rained the bulk of the day.

Additionally, the question about practice courts have come up. We've cleared out the indoor facilities, so we have practice courts on site. In fact, we've had a number of players on them earlier today. This afternoon it was a little bit quiet over there. We have made a variety and number of changes.

Q. If the Sugiyama match happened at the same time the Clijsters-Mauresmo match started, that match would be finished by now?

JIM CURLEY: Again, that gets back to what time it was originally scheduled. That was the decision that was made in conjunction with the tour, to have them in not before 1.

BRIAN EARLEY: They were here late last night.

DAVID NEWMAN: I think the purpose of what we're trying to share here, certainly with what is going on in the New York area weather-wise that has directly impacted this tournament, there are a number of decisions that you have to take into consideration, a variety of things.

To try to do these on a quick basis, you make decisions, and we all go forward from there. What we have tried to do getting together with everyone here is to discuss what we're doing going forward. There's not much that we can do looking backward.

So we made a variety of changes to the operations of the National Tennis Center from yesterday to today. Going forward, we have a schedule which hopefully we can adhere to. If we're not able to do that, we will, in turn, make subsequent changes to our program as it currently stands.

Q. Two and a half part question. What's the forecast look like from your three weather subscriber services? Do you sense from your meetings we have reached a crisis mode yet. And if not now, when?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: On the weather front, I believe Brian or Jim might be the most up-to-date on our three weather reports.

BRIAN EARLEY: It's a bit of a mixed bag. They don't all agree.

DAVID NEWMAN: Imagine that.

BRIAN EARLEY: Much like you would expect.

I just read one 15, 20 minutes ago that says we should do very well tomorrow, especially in the afternoon. Also, I read another one that was not quite so optimistic. I spoke to a meteorologist on the phone, which I do quite often these days, he was somewhere in the middle.

I don't pretend to be able to predict the weather, but it's just not an exact science.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: I think the gentleman had a follow-up question. I'm sorry.

Q. In the meetings, do you get a sense you've reached crisis mode yet? If not now, then when?

JIM CURLEY: That's making an assumption we're going to be panicking. I don't think so.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: This is a tennis tournament. I don't think it's a crisis.

JIM CURLEY: Right.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: It's certainly challenging. You'll see a lot of bleary eyes up here, given the all-nighters that this will necessitate from tournament operators and officials. But I would not categorize this as a crisis mode given what we've seen going on in the world the last couple years - absolutely not.

Q. I guess in defining "crisis," I meant pushing it back past Sunday.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Certainly not desirable. Disappointing that because the US Open serves as the showcase for our sport and for our mission here at the USTA, that that's very disappointing. Obviously, we have less viewers watching the talent out here on a Monday or on a Tuesday.

So from that standpoint, certainly disappointing. This is our opportunity to really showcase the sport of tennis, showcase these incredible athletes. From that standpoint, it is certainly disappointing for the sport that we didn't have that platform that we typically have.

But I think that's probably the most disappointing situation for all of us here.

Q. This is a question for Arlen. What, looking back, were you most unprepared for with this inclement weather? What will you look to be better prepared for next year?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: Well, I think I've heard a lot of discussions about tarps. I can't recall yet a particular session where a tarp would have cut down significantly on the time. I know Brian and Jim have spent an inordinate amount of time studying what, on a hard court surface, can help to dry those courts as soon as possible.

They operate very differently than grass or clay where water sinks into the grass or clay; therefore, you need a tarp. But I don't believe tarp is necessarily the answer.

That's not to say that given the experiences we've had we're not going to look at everything come this fall and this spring.

20/20 hindsight on the roof is always easy to reach. We told you yesterday that we're going to look into the possibility, whether it be Louis Armstrong, Grandstand, what have you, the possibility of a roof in the future.

So in hindsight, obviously we're very jealous of that retractable roof at the Australian Open.

But other than that, I think I don't see that we could have possibly done anything differently at this point.

We may be asking you to bring your own towel tomorrow to help us with the courts. But other than that, I don't think we've yet run low on the towels yet.

So the guys are working hard. They're doing everything possible. It's just a situation where I don't think a tarp would have improved; a roof certainly would have.

Q. Anything in terms of communications, the scheduling or the unavailability of practice courts for players here, an indoor facility?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: We have - and at some point I'd be glad to show this group our model - six months ago and in the recent three months, we have a plan to create a state-of-the-art indoor tennis facility, part of which is why we raised the money through this bond issue I announced yesterday. We're very excited about it. It provides five additional courts. It's actually a rebuilding of the tennis center -- of the indoor tennis building, rather.

I think that will obviously help the practice court situation, which is one of the primary reasons we're doing that down the road.

So I think from a practice court standpoint in the rain, the solution is right now defined. It's a matter of how quickly we can build that.

Q. Then the other aspect, communications with the players and scheduling, either mistakes, or have things gone the way you would have wanted them to in terms of dealing with this sort of situation?

ARLEN KANTARIAN: The player communication is handled by the tournament director, the referee, our associates with the WTA and the ATP. If there's anything that Brian or Jim would like to address in that scenario...

JIM CURLEY: We're always looking to improve the communication with the players, the ATP, the WTA Tour. Do you always get it 100 percent correct? No. But it's our goal to approach that level.

Q. How long are you looking at giving it tonight before calling it a day?

DAVID NEWMAN: Cancellation policy is 9:45 as it relates to the public. So we have probably about an hour or so left, two hours.

JIM CURLEY: That's correct, couple hours.

Q. Do you know how many people actually arrived today?

DAVID NEWMAN: We'll try to give you that number. Off the top of our heads we don't have that.

TIM CURRY: Transcripts will be made available as soon as they're ready.

Final question.

Q. Will you play doubles finals on Monday even if the singles are finished?

JIM CURLEY: It depends who's in the doubles final. I mean, it's something that we're going to --

Q. Would doubles play only on Monday, is the question.

JIM CURLEY: Oh, the answer is if necessary, yes.

Q. Is there a time for tomorrow that the Mary Pierce-Myskina match would be finished in order for her to play the night session?

JIM CURLEY: That would just be reasonable rest.

TIM CURRY: Thank you.

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TheBoiledEgg said:
Q. Why did you cancel all the matches for tonight except for two?

JIM CURLEY: That's correct.

Q. Why? Why did you leave two open?

JIM CURLEY: I'm sorry, I missed...

Why did we leave...

Q. Only two matches open for tonight.

JIM CURLEY: For the pairings? For tonight?

Q. You cancelled everything except the Roddick and Schuettler match.

JIM CURLEY: That's correct. We're keeping them here because they're in the same pairings.

ARLEN KANTARIAN: If the question is why didn't we schedule more matches tonight, is that the question?

Q. Why did you skip the rest of the matches and leave those two open?

JIM CURLEY: Well, Roddick was scheduled at 7 o'clock tonight. He's still scheduled at 7 o'clock tonight. In his pairing is the Schuettler-Schalken match, okay. So we keep both of them so we maintain the pairings.

So with regards to why did we release everyone else - is that your question - by releasing them now, that allows us to create our schedule for tomorrow. If we keep everyone here too late tonight, we can't bring people back early tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.
:rolleyes: Are they assholes or do they want to fool us?
 

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Q. Why did you cancel all the matches for tonight except for two?

JIM CURLEY: That's correct.
LOL, he's just like my mom.

"Mooom, do you want to blue or the red one."

Mom: " yes."
 

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How I wish I was at the press conference. I wouldn't have been so nice.
 
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