After suffering the brunt of heavy rain showers interrupting two of his matches at the recent Toronto Masters, world number 2 Novak Djokovic has called for North American tennis events to implement court covers.
Events based in the US such as the US Open and the recent Toronto tournament are more susceptible than most for heavy rain showers, and the resulting delays that they cause to matches are what Djokovic wants to put an end to. Since 2007 the men’s singles final of the US Open hasn’t been played to schedule due to unexpected rainstorms, and earlier in the month it seemed the same thing was going to happen at the Rogers Cup in Montreal for both the men’s and women’s finals.
Disappointed with the lack of foresight by the tournament organisers in Toronto when his two night-time matches were halted due to rain showers, Djokovic spoke of his frustration – “the only thing I can take out from this experience aside from trying to be calm….is that I don’t see any reason why hard court tournaments don’t have covers on their courts.”
Stating that “this tournament…should strongly consider having covers for next year”, Djokovic wasn’t going to be pacified by the excuse that covers cause humidity on court by the organisers at Toronto, and cited the inflatable covers at Wimbledon as an example – “If they inflate the covers, like they do at Wimbledon, it saves us time.”
Although implementing court covers can cause headaches and problems for tournament organisations, the benefits of doing so will more than outweigh the costs as far as players and spectators go. With Djokovic asserting that even for delays of ten or fifteen minutes due to shorter rain showers it takes players “45 minutes to get (back) on the court”, perhaps it’s time that tournaments in the US listened to his advice.