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Sorry if this was already posted.

US Open tournament director says courts were slowed down this year

NEW YORK -- Roger Federer called this "the slowest US Open we've seen in years.''

Turns out that was no accident.

US Open tournament director David Brewer said Wednesday night that the Grand Slam event's hard courts were purposely slowed down "a touch'' in response to players noting in recent years that the surface seemed to be speeding up.

"In the general feedback we've gotten from players the last couple of years, a range of players, both male and female, the commonality we seemed to have been getting was: The courts were sort of gradually creeping up in speed,'' Brewer said in an interview. "We just felt we needed to address that a little bit this year. At the same time, we wanted to ensure we had really good consistency across all courts.''

The amount of sand or other granular items in the surface's top layer can be adjusted to make a court faster, which is what's responsible for the change, according to Brewer, rather than the recent switch from asphalt to cement underneath each court at Flushing Meadows.

He added that he can't remember any concerted effort to alter court speeds around the facility with the intention of helping American players do well in the country's Grand Slam tournament.

"I'm just trying to think if we've ever sat down and said, 'All right, look, what can we do to advantage American players when it comes to the court surface?' And I don't ever recall having that conversation in my 20 years here,'' Brewer said.

No American man has won the singles title in New York since Andy Roddick in 2003, and none has even reached the semifinals since Roddick in 2006. The highest-seeded American man, No. 11 John Isner, lost in the quarterfinals this week.

However, last year, all four US Open women's semifinalists were Americans, including champion Sloane Stephens. Two of the four women who play in Thursday's semifinals are from the United States -- Serena Williams and Madison Keys.
 

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Pathetic. Why are they so scared about the court speed 'creeping up?' Not every court needs to play so mind-numbingly slow. That's the issue these day. The court surfaces have mostly been homogenized. The AO is the fastest GS these day.
 

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well ao is pretty fast so i dont necessarily have a problem with them slowing down the court. i just think that its been so damn humid this year its made the conditions brutal
 

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The tournament spent about $600 million to renovate Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and $150 million on the new roof on Ashe; now they say the courts are slow and conditions are hot and humid due to the roof. You can't please everyone, can you?
 

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I don't understand this decision. Most of US male players prefers faster courts. And fast courts make competition more unpredictable so chances for US male players to reach more than qf would be increased. Are they satisfied with their women players?
 

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US Open tournament director David Brewer said Wednesday night that the Grand Slam event's hard courts were purposely slowed down "a touch'' in response to players noting in recent years that the surface seemed to be speeding up.
I don't believe this at all. I mean they measure the speed of the courts so show us the evidence.
 

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AO 2017 was the fastest AO I can remember and also one of the best GSs in recent years. I don't get this fear of fast courts, it allows some different competition and still Rafa was in an epic 5th set final.

This whole slowing down surfaces thing baffles me, it's just a bunch of money hungry idiots who misunderstand the game thinking this is the safest way to ensure a high profile final with either Rafa or Nole.
 

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Disgusting. :no:

Not only did they slow them down, with sand.... they are now underlaid with concrete instead of asphalt. CONCRETE! How bad is that for the joints of the players running on it?! Just to save money on maintenance. :facepalm: Just gross.

[ame]https://youtu.be/8qtzokRuWCQ?t=2m53s[/ame]
 

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"the last couple of years, a range of players, both male and female, the commonality we seemed to have been getting was: The courts were sort of gradually creeping up in speed"
So did the same players forget to give the message to AO director, or is it that Craig Tiley does not give a damn about it?
Also slow surfaces means more rallies, thus players needing more time to recover. So why have the shot clock then?
I don't think this guy or his team use their head.
 

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I haven't seen the data for 2018 yet, but the graphic below is for 2017. I don't know if there is grand slam published speed index data for 2016 and earlier. But for what is worth, there is some data regarding rally length (chart below).

Regardless, the USO Tournament Director shouldn't depend on player opinions for slowing or speeding up the court. There are precise ways to measure the conditions, including the surface, balls, and adjustments for weather.* In my opinion, to help prevent injuries to the players, hard court conditions should never play below medium and maybe that's even too slow.

2017 GS Speed Index Comparison


ITF Technical Sheet for Court Pace Rating (bounce vs. friction)



GS Rally Length (5 year rolling average in men's finals - see source)


*Note that aside from the "precise measurements", a player like Thiem is a pretty good weather vane for court conditions. He generally thrives in slower conditions and seriously dips when conditions are faster.

Respectfully,
masterclass
 

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Whenever a court has become slower - it's always Nadal pulling his weight.

And in lieu of Federer being no longer at Nike, it's clear that Nadal is beginning to exploit his new status as the number one player at America's flagship apparel maker.
 

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Honestly, purposely slow the court speed down is a dumbest thing I ever heard because slowing down courts helps Djokovic and Nadal, making the match go long. It doesn't really benefit the tennis as people began to leave very late at the night, making it bad optics for TV with longer rallies. A shorter match, shorter points would go a long way of cutting down matches to a minimum. I remember a good old days when a 5 setter went for 3 hours at the most, not 4 hours, or even close to 5 hours. That's insane. If you want to produce new Grand Slam champion, speed up the courts, making the Big 4 earn it.
 

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Didn't Nadal complain about this court speed thingy previously and I guess the tournament director changed it because of 'his' comment?:tape:
 
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