Anyone have any stats on late starts/finishes in tennis?
It was incorrectly reported on ESPN2 that the start of the Lleyton Hewitt – Marcos Baghdatis match was the latest ever start at a major championship (ball up was 11:47 pm local time). There was a post-midnight start at the US Open back in 1987 when Gabriela Sabatini and Bev Bowes started their first round match just after midnight, following the four-hour plus epic between Boris Becker and Tim Wilkison (Becker winning 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2). Sabatini won the match 6-3, 6-3 in a match concluded at 1:30 am. Asked in the post-match press conference if she felt worried starting her match just after midnight, Sabatini said, "I wasn't worried when I saw Beverly sleeping in the players' lounge."
Look for all of this to be documented in the new BUD COLLINS HISTORY OF TENNIS book (www.newchapterpressmedia.com
The latest finish at a major championship was at the 2007 Australian Open, when Italy’s Andreas Seppi defeated American Bobby Reynolds 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-7 (5), 7-6 (3), 6-3 at 3:34 am (play delayed during the day due to excessive heat, causing for the match to start at 11:45 pm local time). Said Bobby Reynolds, a former Vanderbilt University standout, of the match, ''It felt like one of those late-nighters you have in college when you've got a paper to write and you need to drink a couple Cokes and get it done.'' Wrote Chris Clarey of The New York Times of the match, “Though tennis matches have certainly finished at that hour or later in some all-night, full-moon strain of the recreational game, there is no record of one having finished that late in a Grand Slam event or, for that matter, a regular tour event….The latest match at the United States Open was Mats Wilander's victory against his fellow Swede Mikael Pernfors in the second round in 1993. That finished at 2:26 a.m., which still made the Swedes look like early birds in comparison.”
In that post-match press conference back in Flushing Meadows in 1993, Wilander was asked if he had ever played so late. Wilander dead-panned, “Played what?”
In 2002 at the US Open, Younes El Aynaoui and Wayne Ferreira finished a round of 16 men’s match on Court No. 4 at 2:14 am – the Moroccan winning 3-6, 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (3) in the second-latest finish at the US Open. Back in my USTA days, when I presented Younes with the information that he and Wayne were 13 minutes shy of US Open history, Younes laughed and said that he and Wayne should have agreed to go five sets to break the record.