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Djokovic hits out at crammed US Open schedule

Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits balls to fans after defeating David Ferrer of Spain in their men's singles semifinals match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 9, 2012. — Reuters picNovak Djokovic of Serbia hits balls to fans after defeating David Ferrer of Spain in their men's singles semifinals match at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 9, 2012. — Reuters picNEW YORK, Sept 10 — Novak Djokovic was happy to complete his weather-delayed semi-final victory over David Ferrer in sunshine yesterday but the Serb still lashed out at the US Open's crammed schedule.

“It's a great relief obviously to get it over with in four sets,” reigning champion Djokovic said after finishing off a 2-6 6-1 6-4 6-2 victory over the 10th-seeded Spaniard.

The victory moved the 25-year-old Serb, who trailed 5-2 when their windblown match was halted on Saturday, into the finals against Olympic champion Andy Murray of Britain, the third seed.

For the fifth year in a row, the men's final will be played today instead of a Sunday finish due to weather delays.

Murray, aiming to become the first Briton to win a grand slam title since Fred Perry in 1936, was able to complete his victory over Czech Tomas Berdych in Saturday's high winds, giving him an extra day of rest ahead of the final.

“I'm not so sure about this Super-Saturday,” five-time major winner Djokovic said about the nickname applied to the tournament's second Saturday, which over the years has featured both men's semi-finals in addition to the women's final.

“I'm not so sure about that anymore. I really hope that the tournament will consider changing things for next year. I think I'm not speaking in the name of myself only. I think most of the players will agree.

“Every grand slam has a Friday/Sunday, the last couple of days,” he said about leaving a day between the men's semi-finals and final. “This is the only Grand Slam that has Super-Saturday.”

US Open tournament director David Brewer said on Saturday that organisers had agreed to change the format from 2013 so there would be a day between the semis and finals but had not settled on the exact scheduling.

That does not help Djokovic in his quest to repeat as Open champion. “I think that's ridiculous, from the players' perspective,” he said about the lack of off days.

The annual delays also have intensified debate over why the courts are not covered.

The centre courts at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon have retractable roofs while French Open officials have announced plans to cover the main court at Roland Garros.

Djokovic was thrilled to get out of Saturday's wind and into mild conditions when he could count on his blistering ground strokes hitting the lines he was aiming at.

“It was good to have the job done in four sets today,” he said. “I feel fresh as I can be at this stage of the tournament and looking forward for tomorrow.”

Djokovic, who was trailing 5-2 when the match was suspended, was asked if he was relieved that the match was halted even if it did lead to another Monday finish.

“I didn't mind,” he said, drawing laughter from reporters. “Trust me.” — Reuters 

 

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