Weather fills outer courts with top tennis names

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While steady rains Sunday and Monday caused havoc for U.S. Open organizers, who were forced to juggle matches delayed by the inclement weather, it created a tennis lovers’ dream Monday night at the National Tennis Center.

Fans who endured the rain were treated to a unique situation as several of the outer courts featured some of the sport’s top names throughout the night, giving the throngs who flocked there an unusually close seat for some great matches.

On most nights, the only action is in the three main stadiums, Arthur Ashe, Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand, while the outer courts are barren.

But on Labor Day there was a circus-like atmosphere as most fans decided to forgo monstrous Arthur Ashe Stadium to hop from outer court to outer court as if sampling from a buffet. A little bit of Gustavo Kuerten on Court 10, a taste of Justine Henin on Court 11, a smidgen of Juan Carlos Ferrera on Court 7.

Jennifer Capriati’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over fellow American Amy Frazier was sparsely attended while at the same time the line to get into Court 10 for Kim Clijsters’ match against Amelie Mauresmo wrapped all the way around the court.

Stop at the food court? Not tonight, there’s no time. Tommy Haas, the men’s No. 3 seed is on the Grandstand against 25th ranked Thomas Enquist before top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt takes the court.

Watching some reruns

While umbrella-toting fans did their best to keep busy during the rains Sunday and Monday, those who couldn’t get to the National Tennis Center and were expecting to see hours of television coverage instead got what turned out to be “The Best of the U.S. Open” after seeing just 41 minutes of live Open coverage as Serena Williams easily defeated Daja Bedanova, 6-1, 6-1.

After exhausting highlights from this year’s tournament, USA Network and CBS used dozens of hours to show last year’s Pete Sampras/Andre Agassi epic match and from the 1991 U.S. Open, Jimmy Connors’ historic five-set victory over Aaron Krickstein and Jennifer Capriati’s quarterfinal match against Monica Seles, among other matches.

“The nostalgia network rolls on,” joked Douglaston native Mary Carillo, a CBS commentator.

Capriati, for one, was surprised her match from 11 years ago was replayed.

“I can’t believe they showed it again today,” she said after beating Frazier. “They’ve showed it before other times, not even during the Open. Maybe because I played in it, I don’t think it’s as great as everyone says. I don’t see it.”

A Bitter Brit

After Greg Rusedski lost a tough five-set match to fan favorite Pete Sampras Monday night, the Brit used his time at the post match press conference to rip into the 31-year-old who just sent him packing.

“I lost the match, he didn’t win the match,” said Rusedski after the emotional 7-6, 5-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-4 loss. “I’d be surprised if he wins his next match against [Tommy] Haas. To be honest with you, I’d be very surprised.”

Rusedski wasn’t done dissing Pistol Pete.

“If you’re 1 1/2 steps slower, you’re not in as quick, are you? He’s still a good player, no question about it, but he’s not the great player,” Rusedski said. “That’s what cost me the match, showing him too much respect over four sets.”

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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