Another day, and more heat at the US Open. In more ways than one.
A day after crushing heat and humidity became the talking point of the tournament, similar conditions on Wednesday did not help in getting the issue to die down.
Tuesday had seen five men retire due to “heat-related” issues, leading officials to introduce a 10-minute heat break for men for the first time between the third and fourth sets of their matches.
Tournament director David Brewer clarified the unprecedented move. “Having seen what we were seeing with the heat and humidity out there we thought it was the reasonable and the appropriate thing to do, to institute something to give the men the opportunity,” he told USA Today.
On Wednesday, with the temperature once more soaring above 35 Celsius and 70 per cent humidity, the new rule was invoked again.
Andy Murray and Fernando Verdasco duly headed off court after Verdasco moved ahead two sets to one in their second-round clash on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Seems like Murray might have been mistaken. Verdasco says he was talking to Marcos Baghdatis and his coach, and although he saw his own coach, they didn't speak. "I know exactly the rule and I don't want to be the one breaking it."
— Eleanor Crooks (@EleanorcrooksPA) August 30, 2018
It was during this time that Murray claimed Verdasco bent the rules by receiving coaching advice.
“I went for a shower. He was having an ice bath,” Murray said about Verdasco. “When I came out of the shower … one of the Spanish doubles players was in there chatting to him, and you’re not allowed to speak to your coach.”
Verdasco denied the claim, but Murray wasn’t buying it, if the last sentence of his Instagram post is anything to go by.
“I’m off to get a health check as apparently I’ve started imagining things. #liarliarpantsonfire,” he wrote.
Another issue continuing to bubble away was the one involving Alize Cornet.
On Tuesday, the Frenchwoman was playing her US Open first-round match against Johanna Larsson, realised she was wearing her shirt back-to-front, and quickly took it off on court before putting it back on the right way around.
Chair umpire Christian Rask docked her with a warning for “unsportsmanlike conduct”, leading to an outcry from fellow players and fans on social media.
— doublefault28 (@doublefault28) August 28, 2018
Victoria Azarenka was appalled. “If I would say my true feelings, it would be bleeped out, because I think it was ridiculous,” she said.
“I believe that should never happen. It was nothing wrong. Nothing wrong. It wasn’t anything disrespectful. I’m glad they (the tournament) apologised, and I hope this never happens again.
“There is always a double standard for men and women. But we need to push those barriers.”
Cornet addressed the incident after her US Open doubles match, although she was less forthright than Azarenka.
“For sure, the women are treated a little bit differently,” she said. “I want to be clear about it and I didn’t take it that bad. I was just maybe disturbed for 10 seconds and that was it.”
Alize Cornet: "All the players were supporting me for that & were telling me that if I get fined we would all be together & see the WTA & make a revolution and stuff. I was, like, Calm down. I'm going to get the information first and then we see if we make a revolution or not"
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) August 29, 2018
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