Number one seed says he has not been given enough time to recover between crucial matches.
World number one Novak Djokovic ripped the US Open for their scheduling of his matches on Saturday and made it clear that he is no fan of the new Monday final programme debuting this year.
Djokovic unleashed his fury after advancing to his fourth consecutive US Open championship match and 12th Grand Slam final by defeating Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The 26-year-old Serbian, seeking his seventh Grand Slam title, started his semi-final match at noon after playing a late quarter-final Thursday night against Russian Mikhail Youzhny, the last of the quarter-final match-ups.
World number two Rafael Nadal, who defeated France’s Richard Gasquet in Saturday’s other semi-final to book a US Open final showdown with Djokovic for the third time in four years, played his quarter-final match on Wednesday.
“I didn’t find it very fair to play at 12 noon the first match and I went to bed at 3 a.m. two days ago after my quarter-finals, where the other semi-finalists had three days off — basically three days ago they played the quarter-finals,” Djokovic said.
“So I didn’t find any logic in that. But, again, there are some other, I guess, influences that have more power than players and this has to be changed.”
Telecast partners, who provide rich rights fees to finance the event, likely had major influence over which match was played when on Saturday.
“Scheduling is definitely something that we have to make right, because I think opinions of the players should be respected more in terms of scheduling the matches on the certain days.”
The men’s final was moved to Monday from Sunday this year in response to player complaints about it being scheduled the next day after Saturday semi-finals in prior years.
The US Open takes three days to play the first round of the men’s singles, spreading the star attractions over more nights but forcing the choice of a Monday final or back-to-back semi-finals upon the players.
“I’m not in support of a Monday final, but this is what it is,” Djokovic said. “It’s better to have Monday final now when you have a Saturday semi-final than Sunday back-to-back five sets in two days like it was before.”
The move is likely a temporary one. A new US television contract has been signed and the Monday final deal is only assured for this year and next.
“It’s just an ongoing subject with US Open and with people who are in organization here,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully the next few years, we’re going to have to accept the Monday final, but after that, hopefully we can have the Friday/Sunday like in every other Grand Slam.
“I don’t see why the US Open should get an exception in that.”
Adding to Djokovic’s ire is next week’s Serbian home Davis Cup tie against Canada starting in Belgrade on Friday.
“Monday finals don’t go in the favor of the players who are playing Davis Cup, and I have been playing Davis Cup semi-finals for the last few years,” said Djokovic.
“Now I have to play for my country again, which makes it much more difficult for me. It’s a different continent, different time zone, it’s clay indoors.
“I got injured already a few times like this and it’s something that doesn’t make me happy.”
But Djokovic does have plenty of experience with US Open finals on Mondays. The past five years have all seen rain push back the scheduled men’s singles championship match to Monday.
Djokovic won his 2011 US Open title on a Monday and lost the 2010 final to Nadal and last year’s final to Britain’s Andy Murray all on Mondays.