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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
Stars slam US Open chiefs
Fourth seed Andy Roddick
Roddick is unimpressed with the tournament's organisers
Andy Roddick has added his voice to the growing chorus of criticism facing US Open organisers after prolonged rain caused havoc with the schedule.

Three consecutive days of rain have meant that only three matches have been completed since Monday, leaving the tournament schedule in chaos.

And several players and commentators have blamed officials for exacerbating the situation with poor organisation and haphazard scheduling.

Roddick, the fourth seed, welcomed the opening of indoor practice courts with a thinly-veiled attack on the United States Tennis Association (USTA).

The USTA freed up three indoor practice courts on Wednesday after originally designating the area as the "Smash Zone" - an area designed to encourage children to play the sport.

This is the poorest scheduling I've ever been part of in any grand slam
Martina Navaratilova
"It's obvious that the change had to happen," said Roddick, who won the only game completed on Wednesday, a fourth-round match against Belgium's Xavier Malisse.

"The Smash Zone is great for kids but when it takes priority over players practising, it's a little questionable."

Five other indoor courts are unusable, because the space was handed over to sponsors.

Meanwhile, tennis legend Martina Navratilova criticised the decisions of officials to alter the tournament schedule.

Players have been kept waiting around indefinitely before being shunted off the day's schedule altogether to make way for higher-profile matches.

Rain has delayed play at Flushing Meadows
The rain is forcing major alterations to the schedule
"This is the poorest scheduling I've ever been part of in any grand slam," said Navaratilova.

"If you ask the other players, they would say the same thing but they haven't played in as many as I have.

"It's atrocious - of course it's important to make money but you also have to run a good tournament. Those decisions are near-sighted."

Japan's 15th seed Ai Sugiyama, who leads Francesca Schiavone 7-6 5-4 and has been waiting three days to complete the match, has been particularly badly affected.

"If the score is 2-2, or at the beginning of the match, it shouldn't be that frustrating," she said.

"But it's at the end of the set, so it's hard to keep your concentration.

"We have no voice, of course, about when we're going to play or where we're going to play."





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