Is it a case of over-reacting or more a case of covering all bases to keep people safe and certainly avoid any potential litigation? The USTA decided to shut down the National Tennis Centre on the eve of the US Open....
Is it a case of over-reacting or more a case of covering all bases to keep people safe and certainly avoid any potential litigation? The USTA decided to shut down the National Tennis Centre on the eve of the US Open. Never before have I ever been to a venue where the place has been shut down because of the weather in this manner. That’s what has happened because of Hurricane Irene. From 5pm on Saturday to 8am Monday, the first day of the tournament, access was being denied to the facility. Certainly the storm is intense, no one is disputing that but it almost strikes a chord of very extreme reaction. “Sure it's somewhat scary, you know, because we don't know how hard it's gonna hit us.  I've got family. We're in New York City, you know, it's not just a regular city. It's quite something with all the buildings. So it's unusual, but we'll follow the news closely and we'll try to stay as safe as we can so we get through it,” Roger Federer said. There was one recent evacuation this past week at the New Haven Open at Yale when earth tremors rumbled through and everyone was moved out and then many years ago the Australian Open were flooded when a freak rain storm caused pipes to break. The last time there was any sort of shutout was back in 1988 when the men players decided to break away from the then circuit. They had a press conference in the car park of the US Open because they were shutout from having one in the media room. But this decision by the US Open is different. However, it does go beyond just the NTC; it’s all of New York. The place is pretty much at a standstill. I guess they are thinking back to Cyclone Katrina that hit New Orleans at this time a few years ago but the bigger factor on that occasion was the water levees were inadequate and poorly made and as a result broke. That is what flooded New Orleans. TV graphics are showing that there is the potential for lower Manhattan to be flooded. The hurricane dropped to being a Category One. The TV channels in the US probably have a lot to answer for with their alarmist and sensationalised reporting. One fellow on CNN all but suggested the lower part of Manhattan would be underwater and they kept showing computer generated images of flooding through all the streets like that film “The Day After Tomorrow”. “Nobody knows exactly what's going on, no?” Rafa Nadal said. “But having the club closed, all the places in Manhattan will be closed, so not much. Just stay in the hotel. Maybe watch some films. But we will see what's going on. I never had an experience with a hurricane. Is something new. I think is very bad for the city, for the weekend, for everybody.  But, you know, that's a new experience, and not enjoyable experience, but we know how is when is hurricane.” I guess in one sense the USTA was also dealt its hand because the rest of the city had shut down public transport and was closing bridges. In that situation it was going to make it next to impossible for people get to the tennis centre so the place may as well be closed. “I think everyone's a bit overreacting about everything, but of course you have to take precaution and all that.  But, I mean, where are we gonna go?  All hundreds of us?”Maria Sharapova said. “So I just hope that our hotel is nice and tough and sturdy, you know.  That's all we can do, right?” I guess so!