The duel won by Carlos Alcaraz against Jannik Sinner, which ended at 02:50 in New York (01:50 Ecuadorian time), after more than 5 hours, and one of the best in the history of the US Open, led to the extreme difficulty of the schedule that usually ends at dawn and accommodates players and the general public.
If the show on the court was one of the best in the history of tennis, with two players who represent the present and the future of this sport, in the United States the question is becoming more and more frequent about whether the organization of the tournament. should raise the night program again to avoid the final matches ending at dawn and in a half-empty stadium.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who came to Flushing Meadows ranked number one in the world, repeatedly admitted it was “hard to find the rhythm” when you have to play after 10 p.m.
Last Monday, Alcaraz finished his round of 16 match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic at around 01:45 local time. This Wednesday, his duel with Sinner ended at 02:50 local time, after five hours and fifteen minutes on the track.
The Flushing Meadows night schedule begins at 7:00 PM local time and features two games, one for the women and one for the men. As these are best-of-five matches in the men’s tournament, matches often last over three hours and usually end after midnight.
It is a schedule that seeks to utilize prime-time television content in the United States, starting at 7:00 p.m., but in many cases, this type of arrangement ends in at least one of the two sessions.
This is a problem that directly affects players. It should be noted that after the match, the tennis players must attend a press conference as well as perform a series of recovery exercises that require at least another hour.
But it also affects the product in general. It’s common to see the Arthur Ashe course empty in several sectors as midnight approaches, especially on weekdays like it was this Wednesday.
Thus, Alcaraz-Sinner started in a packed stadium with more than 23,000 fans and finished at 2:50 a.m. in New York with less than half that number.
From the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center, located in Queens, it takes more than 45 minutes to get to Manhattan by public transportation, and many spectators skip the show in order not to be late home.
Although the tournament has registered several records of viewers in the chain ESPNespecially for the American Serena Williams matches in the first week and in prime time, the fact that other top-flight matches finish so late makes it difficult to distribute the product.
This Thursday’s program resumed at 19:00 local time (20:00 Ecuadorian time) and sees the two women’s semi-finals between Poland’s Iga Swiatek and Belarus’ Aryna Sabalenka and between France’s Caroline García and Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.
The men’s final, which is played in the best of five sets, will of course start at 15:00 local time and at 19:00 local time this Friday.
The finals will be played on Saturday and Sunday and will start at 16:00 (15:00 Ecuadorian time).