US Open heat hurting the players, but also creating more bizarre, interesting headlines

Leye Aduloju in US Open 30 Aug 2018
  • The US Open is live from New York from 27 August - 9 September
  • Temperatures have soared as high as 38C in the first three days
Novak Djokovic. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

It has been hot; but it certainly hasn’t been dull as the US Open heat continues to dominate the conversations at the Flushing Meadows.

From Alize Cornet's shirt-gate to Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco's coach-gate, it’s all been happening in New York!  

The heat has been a major talking point, with temperatures soaring as high as the 38C mark in the opening three days of the tournament. 

Combined with humidity levels of over 50%, the conditions have been almost unbearable, with as many as five players retiring from their men's singles matches due to heat-related problems on Tuesday.

The US Open has had an Extreme Heat policy for women's matches for some time now, with the players allowed to take a 10-minute break between the second and third sets when the temperatures reach extreme figures, but quite bizarrely, the men were left out of the plan. 

However, amidst the retirements and player complaints, organizers extended the policy to the men, with the 10-minute break in men's matches taken between the third and fourth sets. 

The adjusted rule was also applied on Wednesday, with officials confirming that it will be in place until further notice. 

Novak Djokovic and Marton Fucsovics were the first men to benefit from the new rules, with both men taking the ten-minute break after Djokovic claimed the third set. But the story doesn't end there, as Djokovic later revealed: "Marton and I were in ice baths next to each other. We were naked in the ice baths and it was quite a wonderful feeling... ", making quite a few shift uncomfortably in their seats...

Then on Wednesday, Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco got caught up in a little disagreement about how they spent their heat breaks. Murray accused Verdasco of getting some coaching during the break, which is against the rules, but Verdasco vehemently denied. 

"When I came out of the shower, his coach and one of the Spanish doubles players were in there chatting to him, and you are not allowed to speak to your coach", Murray said. 

"I don't want to say Andy lied, but I didn't talk one word with my coach... I know exactly the rule and I don't want to be the one breaking it", Verdasco replied. 

It all ended with Murray, in his trademark dry humour, suggesting that he might have been hallucinating! 

"I'm off to get a health check as apparently I've started imagining things!", the Scot submitted.

There was also the curious case of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who didn't realize he was supposed to take the ten-minute break! 

“I had so many things I had to do so I actually forgot I had [a break],’’ Tsitsipas said. “After a couple of minutes I realized he was not on the court. It was only six minutes more left. I decided to stay and think, make a plan of my tactics on that side.’’

The plans did not quite work, as Tsitsipas fell in four sets to Daniil Medvedev.

And then there was Alize Cornet, who was given a code violation for changing her shirt on court during the break between the second and third sets in her match against Johanna Larsson. 

Amidst criticisms from most quarters, US Open officials have since apologized, clarifying that both men and women can indeed change shirts off court.

"All players (men's and women's) can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair. This is not considered Code violation".

We’re clear on that then.

The heat policy is still very much in play, which means the next few days promise to generate even more bizarre headlines!


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US Open heat hurting the players, but also creating more bizarre, interesting headlines

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