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