The least expected night for him US Open, on the outskirts of a New York that was being punished by a climatic gale that had tragic consequences, with the death of at least 7 people. In this edition of the fourth Grand Slam of the season, the public once again enjoyed the best in the world, with the exception of forced absences (Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal), but being able to attend the competition, in a setting other than the previous year, with the pandemic in full swing. And when there was rain, there was the ace up the sleeve of the roofed stadiums. But this time the structure forecasts were blown up!
In the center of the city, typical images of “The day after tomorrow”, the film starring Dennis Quaid, albeit without freezing. At the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, about an hour away, the unusual … (or not so much). Surreal images were seen in the same tennis complex, such as street vendors moving on their own, carried by gusts of wind. People ran in search of safe places and some tried to go straight away, thinking that the return home was the best and the most urgent thing. Later they would encounter additional problems: how to return if the means of transport could not function due to the floods? A panorama of uncertainty and even anguish, for them and their own relatives in their homes.
“It was unbelievable. We listened to the rain and not the impact of the ball because of how strong the storm was. We usually feed on that noise when hitting the ball, it is part of tennis, of personal sensations, but here you could hear the rain ”, acknowledged Little Schwartzman after his victory.
Suddenly, the posts on social networks began. Some with images of the madness that was lived in the property. Others, with greater humor, such as the former Australian tennis player Darren Cahill, noticing on Twitter a photo of a man coming out … in his underpants. Just confirming that this was my partner in the booth tonight, Jason Goodall took off his suit and shoes to challenge the walk from Armstrong to Ashe Stadium during the storm. The chaos was real as not a single person thought it was weird, ”Cahill said of the photo.
Jason Goodall, ready for the hike in the rain: former tennis player Cahill made a joke about it
Leaks everywhere. What was happening? Let’s take a look at the stage a bit. For almost four decades, Louis Armstrong Stadium It was the central court of the US Open. The remodeling needs of the tournament, and having a second covered court in a tournament that is usually punished by bad weather, led to its demolition and the construction of a new stage in the same place. The new Armstrong opened at the 2018 US Open, with a sunroof that seemed ideal to avoid further problems from the rains …
And yet it was not enough. Storm forced to suspend the match that the Argentine Diego Schwartzman and the South African Kevin Anderson they disputed for the second wheel, in the first match of the night session. Schwartzman dominated the score by 7-6 (7-4) and 1-0, when the interruption of the game was arranged because the court was already too slippery, and after two previous interruptions. In the stands, there were no slips: directly people got soaked.
What was the problem? Why was water entering a covered stage? The Armstrong, it is worth mentioning, is not a completely closed stadium, but has several ventilation panels, especially in the upper part, which has several openings for the entrance of the public. There are also some breathing spaces on the roof part. Enough for the strong wind (with gusts of up to 60 kilometers per hour) to carry the storm into the field.
It rains in the indoor stadium: an atypical day at the US Open (Frank Franklin II /)
A while earlier, a meteorological alert had been issued from the organization, with the presence of lightning and a distant tornado a few miles away. Even so, he decided to move on, hoping that the activity could continue; in fact, it was possible to continue playing at Arthur Ashe. But the leaks increased and there was no going back.
A match that was a nightmare
The first partial suspension due to the rain had come in the first set, with the result 5-5 and 15-15 with Anderson’s serve, when both players told umpire Nacho Forcadell that there was water on the court, which could cause some patinada and fall, especially in the area of the strips, with a smoother surface. The traditional drying strollers that the tournament has entered, and the most direct resource of drying the straps with towels was even resorted to.
Diego Schwartzman asks the umpire to check the humidity of the court; it happened during the tie-break of the first set (AL BELLO /)
It was played again. During the tie-break, Schwartzman slipped in the middle of the court as he went for a volley in the eighth point. The Argentine claimed and there was another suspension to dry the court again. However, a few minutes later, at the start of the second set, there was water on the court again. After playing three points on Anderson’s serve, a third interruption. Jaded, the South African grabbed his bag and went straight to the locker room. The umpire told the Argentine to also wait in the dressing rooms.
Tennis match in a covered stadium, but with an umbrella (Frank Franklin II /)
As the rain continued and huge puddles formed throughout the complex, a rescheduling was arranged. After consulting both players, it was decided to move the party to the immense Arthur Ashe, to finish it after the match between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Adrian Mannarino. And there the Peque consummated his victory by 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 and 6-4 and the pass to the third wheel, stage in which he will face the Slovakian Axel Molcan (138 °).
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the most impressive scenes from the storm that hit the New York Grand Slam