Andy Roddick has expressed his belief that a players’ union would help prevent the problems that have marred this year’s US Open from reoccurring in the future. The 21st seed feels that the players themselves should have a greater say in what goes on at tournaments to help resolve problems.
Flushing Meadows has been the scene of a shambolic two weeks of re-scheduling as a result of heavy rain and inadequate solutions. No covers (because of aesthetic “reasoning”) and a lack of communication with players meant that the downpours created havoc causing the bottom half of the men’s draw to stay behind the top half.
It was not so much the scheduling that upset the players, after all, we cannot prevent the rain, but more the lack of opinions that players felt entitled to voice.
Luckily for Flushing Meadows, the sheer quality of the tennis displayed and some great on-court battles have saved the tournament from being a disaster.
When interviewed during one of the many rain delays, Rafa Nadal expressed his concern at the lack of “protection” he felt the players received, and also called for players to have greater say in scheduling.
"The problem is not the organisation of the US Open. It’s that we don't have enough power in these kind of tournaments. That's what has to change very soon. I think everybody agrees that these things have to change."
He went on, “we need to have the right representation in these tournaments.”
Roddick, whose fourth round match against David Ferrer was moved to court 13 (with no provision for line call changes) due to the players deeming Armstrong court unplayable, said that “Until we unite as one voice, then we're not going to get what we want.”
He also stated that he would happily front a players’ union in order to prevent future problems.
These claims of an unsatisfactory running of the tournament came just after players were made to feel unsafe after organisers declared soaked courts fit to play. Nadal, a victim of the rain, accused officials of putting profits before player safety.
Rafa was angry at being made to start his fourth round match in very damp conditions and vented his frustration at tournament Referee Brian Earley. It is reported that, as he walked past Earley while leaving the court, he said, “It’s the same old story, all you ever care about is money.”
He later described Grand Slams as a “show”, feeling that as a player he is “part of that show…they’re just working for that, not for us.”
“I understand that the fans are there, but the players are important too, and we didn’t feel protected”, he added.
Roddick believes that “talent wins negotiations”, and I will be surprised if officials and event organisers are able to ignore the voice of talent for much longer.