The United States Tennis Association made official the schedule change that has been discussed for months: moving the United States Open men’s singles final to Monday and the women’s final to Sunday, ending the Super Saturday format that featured the men’s semifinals and women’s final on the same day.
The change, however, is only official for 2013. The format for future years will probably not be determined until after the 2013 tournament.
The new schedule allows for a day of rest for the men’s finalists, but only if rain has not scrambled the schedule already, which has happened for five straight years, pushing the men’s final to Monday each time. But even when the schedule runs as planned, it has drawn the ire of the top men’s players, who prefer the other Grand Slams’ format of putting a day between the semifinals and finals.
The U.S.T.A. also increased the prize money by $4 million, to $29.5 million, the largest one-year increase in tournament history. Over the past year, the top men’s players have been pressuring the Grand Slam tournaments to increase prize money.
“We recognize the increased physicality required to compete at the highest level of the sport, and we have responded to the players’ request for a scheduled day of rest between the singles semifinals and finals,” Jon Vegosen, chairman and president of the U.S.T.A. said in a statement. “The record increase in U.S. Open prize money and the changes in the next year’s schedule are aimed at rewarding the players’ talents and accommodating the rigors of the modern professional game.”
The 2013 men’s final is set for Sept. 9 at 5.m., with the semifinals scheduled during the day session Sept. 7. There will be no Saturday night session. The women’s semifinals will be played Sept. 6, with the Sept. 8 at 4:30 p.m. — the traditional Sunday slot for the men’s final.
Yet to be determined are the days the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles finals will be staged.
“The day of rest is being embraced across the board,” said Chris Widmaier, spokesman for the U.S.T.A. “Because of the nature of the game, and to assure a final that can be played at the highest competitive level, you need an extra day of rest. We recognized that.”