If you’ve been following Richard Deitsch’s live blog of today’s U.S. Open men’s final, you already know play has been suspended due to rain. Here’s the advisory that circulated the media center moments ago:
Play has been suspended at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center due to rain storms with lightning and thunder. The rain is expected to last 60 to 75 minutes after which the forecast looks good and we fully expect to complete the Men’s Singles Championship match.
For official updates, please visit USOpen.org.
Shortly after play was called (within 10 minutes), CBS informed viewers they could watch the rest of the match on ESPN2 at 7:30 p.m. ET. So the network that demanded a 4 p.m. start for today’s match — when Nadal and Djokovic could have started at noon and finished uninterrupted — has given it away to the cable network within the first splashes of rain.
If you’re confused, you’re not alone. On Twitter, several press members covering the tournament came down hard on CBS’ handling of the situation.
“If they had scheduled this at 2pm then it would have been prime time in Europe and all over by now. But American TV uses and abuses,” said Daily Mail correspondent Mike Dickson.
“When will tennis do what’s right?” asked the London Times‘ Neil Harman.
“Now the middle of the night in the home countries of the two finalists. But that’s ok, America is happy. Oh – except CBS has gone to NFL,” wrote Jonathan Overend of BBC Radio 5 Live.
In case you were wondering, it’s been 39 years since the U.S. Open went past Monday due to delays: when Stan Smith and Billie Jean King needed until Wednesday to capture the men’s and women’s singles titles in 1971. The ’69 tournament also finished on a Tuesday, the only other post-Monday finish in the Open Era.