At US Open, some find­ing it tough to restart af­ter a stop

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS - By Brian Ma­honey

NEWYORK » For ten­nis play­ers suf­fer­ing through the tough­est con­di­tions they’ve ever faced, the choice sounds sim­ple.

A 10-minute break they’re al­lowed to es­cape the sear- ing heat that’s mak­ing their feet burn and their heads spin would seem as wel­come as a wa­ter foun­tain in the desert.

For play­ers such as No­vak Djokovic, re­ju­ve­nated af­ter an ice bath dur­ing his first match, the ben­e­fit of an ex­treme heat pol­icy at the U.S. Open has been clear. But there’s a down­side. Once those 10 min­utes are up, play­ers have to pick up right where they left off, and some are find­ing their bod­ies just can’t do it and that they’d have been bet­ter off play­ing through the pain.

“It felt worse once I went

out into the air-con­di­tioned room and then I went back. Then it felt dou­ble as hot as it felt be­fore,” said An­drea Petkovic, who lost to No. 10 seed Je­lena Ostapenko in the first round on Tues­day.

The heat pol­icy was put into place that af­ter­noon, when tem­per­a­tures first soared into the 90s — feel­ing more like 105 when com­bined with the hu­mid­ity. It was ex­tended into Thurs­day and was to re­main un­til fur­ther no­tice, though tem­per­a­tures were ex­pected to cool by the week­end.

Djokovic boasted of the ice baths that he and op­po­nent Mar­ton Fucso­vics took dur­ing their break that af­ter­noon. Then Djokovic, look­ing weary ear­lier, came back out and put away the fourth set 6- 0.

Fucso­vics fig­ured the bath would help, be­cause it usu­ally does when he has a match the next day. But when he had to quickly play again, he found that his mus­cles wouldn’t warm up in time.

“To sit in for two min­utes and then go on the court again, maybe it wasn’t the best idea,” he said.

JA­SON DECROW — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

No­vak Djokovic, of Ser­bia, walks onto the court for the open­ing coin toss of his match against Ten­nys Sand­gren, of the United States, dur­ing the sec­ond round of the U.S. Open ten­nis tour­na­ment Thurs­day in New York.

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