June 1, 2005
U.S. Open Considers Adding an Extra Day
By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY
PARIS, May 31 - With organizers of the French Open negotiating with the men's and the women's Tours to add a day to the tournament next year, United States Open officials are also exploring the possibility of adding a day.
"The earliest it could happen would be 2006," said Arlen Kantarian, chief executive of professional tennis for the United States Tennis Association. Like the French Open officials, Kantarian said he was intrigued by the possibility of beginning the tournament a day earlier, on Sunday, to add another weekend day of television coverage, which could increase the event's visibility worldwide. He said play on the first Sunday would be limited to the National Tennis Center's three show courts.
Calendar issues are often tennis's thorniest and, according to Kantarian, the men's and the women's Tours are asking for financial compensation to approve the change, which could affect Tour events the week before the Grand Slams. But the tennis association is now in position to control the calendar the week before the United States Open after its recent purchase of the men's hardcourt event on Long Island. That event has been moved to New Haven and merged with an existing women's event.
"We could run the pre-tournament from Sunday to Saturday, and then start the U.S. Open on the Sunday," Kantarian said.
The Open could also eventually expand to 16 days over three full weekends, Kantarian said, adding that the Open could then fall in line with the other three Grand Slam events by creating a day of rest between the men's semifinals and the men's final.
Kantarian also said the tennis association was continuing to test an electronic line-judging system in conjunction with representatives of the International Tennis Federation and the men's and the women's Tours.
"We have one more test, the fourth week of July, at Ashe Stadium," he said, referring to center court at the National Tennis Center. "We won't make the final decision about whether we'll use it this year until after that."
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company