The organizers of the US Open – 2023 decided not to broadcast the tournament draw. The event will take place behind closed doors and only the final results will be announced to the public. Tennis fans don’t like it, the leaders are accused of lack of transparency and disrespect towards the fans. But the officials stand firm.
The absence of broadcasts of the draw is a feature that distinguishes the US Open from other Grand Slam tournaments. The organizers made an exception for the first time in 2017. Then the event in the press center of the USTA National Tennis Center could be viewed not only by selected media representatives, but also by all interested fans. Guests at the ceremony were reigning US Open champion Angelique Kerber and 2014 tournament winner Marin Cilic. A good idea eventually turned into a scandal, which led to the sudden withdrawal of the second racket in the world, Andy Murray, due to injury, immediately after the draw.
“They think they are special.” Strong scandal for the classification ahead of Wimbledon 2019
The 2017 US Open top 10 originally looked like this: Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Dominik Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, David Goffin, John Isner. There were only three true title contenders: Nadal, Murray and Federer. Novak Djokovic missed the tournament through injury, making things easier for the remaining representatives of the Big Four.
The draw for the 2017 US Open took place on Friday night, three days before the start of the tournament. His main result: the first and third seeds, Nadal and Federer, were in the middle of the grid. Rafa and Roger’s paths could have crossed in the semi-finals, which means that one of them would definitely not have fought in the decisive battle for the title. This was initially considered quite normal, as it’s not unusual for numbers 1 and 3 to collide at this stage.
Andy Murray rightfully ranked second in the ranking. Since the start of the 2017 season, Andy has consistently been the No. 1 racket in the world thanks to his victories at Wimbledon, the Olympics, the ATP Finals, the Rome Masters, Shanghai and Paris in 2016. The Brit only lost one position in the second half of August 2017, when he suffered a serious hip injury.
Andy Murray reached the US Open – 2017, but withdrew due to injury
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Murray hasn’t been on the court since his upset loss to American Sam Querrey at Wimbledon 2017. Andy missed the important Montreal and Cincinnati Masters. The tennis player until the end hoped to recover by the start of the US Open, he came to New York and trained, but finally withdrew on Saturday afternoon.
“My hip hurts too much to win the tournament. I came here hoping to try, but the pain is still too much. Do I plan to end the season earlier than planned? There is no final decision yet, but I am considering that option,” Murray said.
This injury effectively ended Murray’s career. Andy only returned to the court in the second half of 2018. The Brit has fallen irretrievably from the elite of tennis and, at the cost of incredible willpower, is currently holding himself at the level of the middle peasant, continuing to perform at the age of 36 years in the midst of continuous health problems.
Pity. The legendary Murray was clearly disrespected at the Washington tournament in 2018.
We return to the US Open – 2017. Murray withdrew almost immediately after the draw, when the tournament ranking was already formed. Andy’s departure created a real disaster. Croatian Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion and 2017 Wimbledon finalist, moved from fifth to second behind Murray. His opponent in the first round was the American tennis player Sandgren, who did not shine at all on the court, despite his brilliant name. Sam Querrey, who beat Murray at Wimbledon and was in the best form of his career, moved up from 17th to replace Cilic in the opening match against Gilles Simon. Germany’s Philipp Kolschreiber, who was initially unseeded, took Querrey’s place and went against a fairly easy opponent in Tim Smychek. Finally, the last beneficiary of Murray’s elimination was the Slovakian Lukasz Lacko, the highest rated lucky loser, who got a place in the main draw of the US Open after being eliminated in the qualifying phase.
Formally, the organizers followed the established rules to change the grid in case one of the players was eliminated after the draw. The rules state the following: “If a withdrawal occurs between the numbers 1-4, the fifth player moves to an open position. The fifth position must be filled with the number 17. The 17th position goes to the first ranked player not included in the original ranking.
However, if it wishes, the US Open steering committee could do the opposite, that is, swap the first-round pairings of Roger Federer-Francis Tiafoe and Marin Cilic-Tennis Sandgren on the grid. But officials decided not to do anything like that.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer bear the brunt of Andy Murray’s removal from the 2017 US Open
Photo: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
In the post-Murray situation, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who, being the two best remaining tennis players in the tournament, could have met before the final, suffered the most from the situation. If Murray had retired a little earlier, the public would have been looking forward to the title fight in the decisive match of the tournament.
Federer reacted quite calmly to what happened. Roger regretted that at the US Open – 2017 he lost not only Murray, but also Novak Djokovic, and also wished his two main rivals a speedy recovery. However, Nadal was clearly unhappy with Andy’s decision to retire after the draw, and was indeed openly critical of the Brit, albeit with mitigating reservations.
“I saw Murray when he arrived, we just said hello. I thought that if he trains he will play. It was kind of weird that he was filming the day after Grid came out. It’s a bit weird and I have a hard time understanding it. But the worst thing is that he is not feeling well. I wish him a speedy recovery. Injuries are bad for everyone. It sounds familiar to me. That’s why I wish him a speedy recovery. It’s the most important thing. Why do I call his decision strange? She left on Saturday morning. And the grill showed up on Friday, right? Normally you train until the last moment. It does not film on Saturday mornings. You normally shoot on Monday mornings or Sunday afternoons, not Saturday mornings. Or you can withdraw before the draw. That’s why I said it was weird. But of course he had his reasons. And the only bad news is that he will not play in the tournament,” Nadal said.
Rafael Nadal was unhappy with Andy Murray’s performance
Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The expert community also expressed its discontent. The 22-time Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles champion, now Australian television commentator Todd Woodbridge, was disappointed with Murray’s performance.
“Sorry for Andy Murray, but he just destroyed the entire US Open draw. Rafa and Roger should be on opposite halves. In terms of broadcasters, Nadal and Federer have the highest ratings. Having them in the middle of the group means that they will play on the same day. Viewers will be confused,” Woodbridge wrote on social media.
Simona Halep’s coach and television commentator Darren Cahill also agreed with the suggestion that Federer should have been relegated to second place and found it impossible to face Nadal before the final.
“That would be the most logical decision,” Cahill said.
A serious conflict erupted in Woodbridge and Cahill’s comments. Someone agreed with his position, but there were also obvious opponents backing the injured Murray.
“What is Murray’s fault? He wanted to see if he could play and considered going out on the court until he really felt like he had the strength. What’s wrong?” “He destroyed the net” is too strong an accusation,” “Do you think he Should Andy have played one round and then folded so the network didn’t “go bad”? Instead, many would look to earn a cash payment, which is provided for even participating in a match. Frankly, this happens regularly, but everyone they are silent. Andy could walk on the court and lose in the first round without any effort. That would be worse than retiring. So Murray didn’t do anything embarrassing. He was honest with everyone. I wanted to play to the end, but I couldn’t.” Todd, I’m disappointed in your comment. Does Andy really deserve such aggression?”, “You don’t feel sorry for Andy at all. You feel sorry for yourself because this is not the mesh you wanted. Murray is badly hurt. Andy is not the guy of a person who deserves such accusations. He does not play tennis to “destroy the grid” of the US Open,” the fans wrote.
Objectively, Murray really didn’t deserve harsh criticism. There certainly wasn’t any insidious idea in Andy’s mind about “breaking the grid” at the US Open to upset Nadal or Federer. Murray is an exemplary professional who has an incredible love for playing tennis. Until the end he wanted to participate in the US Open, but he couldn’t.
Andy Murray’s career went downhill after a hip injury in 2017
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
As of late August 2017, no one knew how serious Andy’s injury was and how it would affect his career. In retrospect, all the attacks against him seem even more baseless. Also, comments about the “net destroyed” became irrelevant during the US Open.
Marin Cilic, who took Murray’s place on the grid, did not take advantage of the gift of fate and lost to Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the third round (6:4, 5:7, 5:7, 4:6). Sam Querrey, who rose sharply to fifth place, benefited and reached the quarterfinals, where he lost to the South African Kevin Anderson, number 28 (6: 7, 7: 6, 3: 6, 6: 7). The same can be said of Philip Kolschreiber, who thanks to his qualification reached the fourth round and lost to Roger Federer (4-6, 2-6, 5-7). But the latest beneficiary of Murray’s elimination, lucky loser Lukas Lacko, lost in the opening game to Frenchman Benoit Peru (3-6, 2-6, 6-7), proving the consistency of his relegation in the classification.
As for the main victims, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer never met on court in the semifinals. Federer, a five-time US Open champion, lost in the quarterfinals to Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro (5-7, 6-3, 6-7, 4-6). Juan-Martin bounced back from his injuries and was only 24th in the tournament, but he beat Roger, as he did in the 2009 US Open final, when he won his first and only career TSH. Del Potro faced Nadal in the semifinals. The Argentine took the first set, but then could not resist the pressure of the activated Rafa for 6:4, 0:6, 3:6, 2:6. In the end, Nadal secured his third title in New York, easily beating Kevin Anderson (6-3, 6-3, 6-4) in the final.
“Three legends at the same time is devastating for tennis.” But only losers say that.
The 2017 US Open men’s singles tournament will definitely not rank among the most exciting draws in the tournament. Djokovic’s absence and Murray’s sacking greatly affected the competition’s competitiveness and deprived viewers of many intriguing moments.
The organizers have a good reason to think about the formation of the grid, if in the future one of the best tennis players retires after the draw. Fortunately, this did not happen in the next five draws. Although in 2017 all the discussions in the end turned out to be meaningless and only generated a little more negativity. Federer failed in the match with Del Potro and did not meet Nadal, who took the title without problems. What definitely should not have been done is criticize Murray, who clearly had no ill intentions, pulling out of the tournament at the last minute due to serious injury.