Can it be too damn hot for tennis?
Mardy Fish is on a roll and is a Floridian, So too Andy Roddick, but then went out in the second round, embarrassing himself with a hissy fit.
Some like it hot, and set up home in Florida, like Andy Murray, who needed to climatize himself for the rigours of the ATP tour and the current US Open, where he might dare go out in the mid day sun and get blisters and possible tennis glory.
I think it is good for the sport that players are tested on all surfaces and all conditions, as long as the sport is not reduced to a lottery.
On the hard court season in America, the American players get the advantage of home support and there is nothing wrong with that, but questions were asked in Cincinnati when Andy Murray, from Dunblane in Scotland was asked to play seven days in a row at a time of day that Aborigines and Massai Warriors have the good sense to seek shade. Because of the TV scheduling demands, the American adversaries of Andy Murray were scheduled to play in the cool evenings when the sun was down. Consequently Murray, who had just beaten the inform Nalbandian, Nadal and Federer on consecutive days in Toronto, and fell apart two days later, apparently distressed by the heat of Cincinnati.
Andy Murray continues to be unpopular in the tennis fraternity and even in the Monk household, but having played tennis in the Florida sun and having become very sick as a consequence, (and in fact wrote about it in these pages), I empathise with Andy Murray.
This problem was recognised in Australia, where it can also get seriously hot. They provided the first sliding roof to protect the players from the searing heat, or to adopt a more cynical view, in order to secure continuity for the TV coverage.
Similarly, Wimbledon have provided a similar solution to accommodate a different weather, and also TV.
The Monks have agonised over whether to visit the US Open this week at Flushing Meadow, and it was planned to happen. Thus far we have watched it from the comfort of our living room. We are told that that the Arthur Ash stadium has a “buzz” but noticeably, the spectators are absent at the middle of the day. Maybe the buzz is the air-conditioned bars which is appealing, but not exactly the point of a trip across the Atlantic.
Questions have been asked about whether the Arthur Ashe stadium is fit for purpose. This is a debate they are now having in New York, but the fact is that there are no plans to provide shade for the spectators, nor less for the players. This huge stadium does not compete with the standards set by Wimbledon and Melbourne or Paris. We are meant to be awe inspired by its scale, that no longer impresses.
We are now in the Third Round and Federa and Nadal have yet to be tested by a day time match. Murray has yet to enjoy the comfort of an evening match.
Murray is not complaining about this but I am because it distorts the game.