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September 2, 2002

Brian Earley


BRIAN EARLEY: Actually, I just talked to the weather guy five minutes ago, he said it's going to be out of here very, very soon. Hopefully in the next hour we'll be drying the courts, getting ready to play. That's the good news. Bad news is we're behind in matches, doing the best to make them up. Priority goes to singles. Priority goes, in this case, to men's singles because they play best-of-five, and the bottom half of the men's draw is obviously way behind, a round behind. The top half is in the fourth round; bottom half is in the third. Do you have questions? We're struggling with the doubles a bit, but fortunately we don't have too many players that are in singles and doubles. In situations like this, we reserve the right to play with the finals in doubles and mixed. Right now we're still planning on finishing the mixed on Thursday and the doubles on Friday. Those situations become fluid. The plan, of course, is always to stay with the women's final on Saturday night and the men's final on Sunday afternoon. That's a (C?) change if we play with that one. I don't see that happening. We have several days of good weather in front of us. We're certainly hopeful to get where we need to be. We know it's a hardship. We know best-of-fives take a lot out of a guy. We know the bottom half of the draw, it's going to be a struggle for somebody. The US Open is the US Open. It's always been a struggle for the players, but it's a great struggle and one we like to watch.

Q. Yesterday when the skies cleared, you were able to clean off Arthur Ashe, you moved to clean off another court.


Q. How about getting the equipment to clean off more than one court at a time? You could get in a couple different matches as soon as it cleared up.

BRIAN EARLEY: The difference was a half an hour between the two. There's two matches. If you're talking about Sampras and Rusedski.

Q. You start a half hour here, half hour, another half hour.

BRIAN EARLEY: No, it doesn't become another half hour. Yes, you're right, the first one gets done in 20 minutes, 25 minutes, okay? Then we get the second one done fairly quickly, then the third one and fourth one are typically about the same. We've been pretty good about that, keeping the outside courts within an hour, the inside and second court within a half hour of the first courts.

Q. How many can you do at once?

BRIAN EARLEY: We can do one and a half at once. We really do get as many people out there in Ashe. You see what it's like when we do this. There's television concerns, player concerns, all the things that go into a session, having a session here, finishing in Ashe, in the day session, knowing that the other courts can play forever. The outside courts, we have great lights. Players know that. Players know that we give priority to Ashe and the night session, then we go and dry off the other courts. Typically we get a little harder on Louis Armstrong only because it's a big court and it takes care of the highest number of spectators. Now, your question about staffing, it was a staffing question. In other words, you saw how many people are out there. Do we keep 15 people hanging around doing nothing waiting to be court dryers? The answer to that is -- I don't have that answer. We've never done it. This is such an odd thing. Remember, we've been doing this for how many years? Does anybody go back 20 years like I do?

Q. Yes.


Q. It's rare.

BRIAN EARLEY: This is so rare to staff up for an eventuality like this, boy, I don't know if we can do that. We do take people from every other crew - the court attendance, court maintenance guys, field maintenance guys. We take people from everywhere to get this done. Like I said, we get started in Louis once we're on our way in Ashe, and then the other courts kind of are just a little bit behind, typically a half an hour behind Louis.

Q. Like the Grandstand, following that, right?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yes. But while they're doing the Grandstand, they're also working on each individual court on the outer side. They don't have quite as many people. Remember, you're also talking about taking care of people. If we were to work on every court at one time, and you got a little behind, you know, you want to take care of people. You want to take care of the biggest number of people you can. Again, if I go back to saying if I had six people for each court, you spread that out over 10 courts, how far do you go? Do you hire 60 extra people to sit around and have a situation like we have here? It's a nasty situation, but hasn't happened in 20 years.

Q. How about some covers like in Wimbledon?

BRIAN EARLEY: We have talked about that kind of ad nauseam. With the numbers of times this has happened, they take up room, you have to have very good drainage at the side of the court, they look bad on the side of the court. You know, don't get me wrong, I'm not making any judgments how Wimbledon looks. But they look bad, they save you an extra -- look at the French, you know, you see what they look like. Again, that's all their business. We don't think that it really helps a lot.

Q. They have a roof in Australia.

BRIAN EARLEY: Thanks for that. Do they have the court covers in Australia?

Q. No.

BRIAN EARLEY: The answer is no.

Q. Lindsay Davenport said she'd be willing to play on Court 14 rather than sit here till 10:00.

BRIAN EARLEY: Court 14, can we get that out there (writing it on the schedule). Do you want me to make that announcement? I'm just kidding.

Q. Why don't you accommodate a top player rather than making them wait?

BRIAN EARLEY: Look, you know, a day behind, a day behind. Like everybody else who is a day behind, she wants to play. We know that. Of all the top players, I don't think I'm telling anybody any news, that she's as flexible as anybody we've got. We're not going to put her on Court 14, all right? I understand that she wants to play.

Q. Why wouldn't you?

BRIAN EARLEY: Well, if we could play it in pairs. You have to understand, when we get into this situation, we play in pairs. It does us no good to play Davenport-Farina, if I can't play Schiavone and Bovina. It does me no good. If you have the option, in this case we're now in a fluid situation, so we're picking out our best options, if you have the option, you don't play one in the morning and one at night. You just don't, because they're out of pair. In this case, we know we have the chance for rain, so you try to bring up the priority to Schiavone and Bovina, Davenport-Farina going out at relatively the same time. Remember, too, we're putting on the third round men's singles, we're playing that. That's going to go.

Q. She understands that. Instead of waiting until Sampras and Rusedski are done, making her play at 10:00, she'd rather play on an outside court.

BRIAN EARLEY: And we will entertain that option, sure. I know you were kidding when you said Court 14.

Q. She said Court 14.

BRIAN EARLEY: I'm sure she'd say it to us.

Q. Are you still planning for tomorrow the women's quarters?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yes, we are. Again, our job is to get back on schedule as soon as we possibly can. If it rains tomorrow, we might have another discussion. That's certainly not the forecast.

Q. Do you have any latest starting time for singles matches anywhere?

BRIAN EARLEY: No, we don't. We haven't established that. I will tell you we have started men's singles as late as 10:00 at night. Remember Massu and Rios.

Q. You will do it if you have to?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yeah. If it helps us to get back -- if you're a player, do you want to stay till 9:00 tonight and play, or do you want to play tomorrow and Wednesday?

Q. 9:00 tonight, sure.

BRIAN EARLEY: Those guys that are scheduled to play on Sunday and Tuesday, they're going to get a late start. They're going to have to play late tomorrow. We're looking at not making a beautiful schedule for the next couple days. The schedule is going to be dictated by when people get finished as much as where we want them to play and when we want them to play.

Q. If you cannot finish the third round of the men today, will you keep the option to play the final on Sunday?

BRIAN EARLEY: I think that would be premature. I still think that would be premature. Five rounds in six days doesn't sound very good to me. You realize what a huge change that is? As we get to the weekend, you know, we did the men's semis on Sunday and final on Monday many years ago. I was involved in that. I think we lost a Saturday, didn't we? We played the ladies' final on Sunday, the men's on Monday.

Q. What year?


Q. '87 Wilander played the final on Monday.

BRIAN EARLEY: We lost a Saturday, not because we lost the Sunday.

Q. Could you play earlier?

BRIAN EARLEY: No. The reason we don't play earlier than 11:00 is quite simple: we can play as late as we want. Playing earlier, there's so much that goes into that. Everybody knows that the end of the day is open. The beginning of the day, I don't think so. I will tell you, though, the players become very cooperative when stuff like this happens. It's just wonderful. I mean, all they want to do is play at this point.

Q. Too early to start before 11?


Q. No way?

BRIAN EARLEY: We've never done it, not since I've been here. I did scheduling from '86 to '92.

Q. Never before 11?

BRIAN EARLEY: We never started before 11. We've only lost two sessions in any given year, so hopefully that -- we won't be faced with that.

Q. Whose decision would it be in terms of whether you're going to a third Monday? Would it be the USTA, USTA, with CBS?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yeah, I would assume it's a USTA -- I don't have contracts in front of me. I'm not a business guy. I'm not in that unit of the company. Boy, a lot of things go into that decision. By "things," I mean players, sponsors, television, ticketholders.

Q. Concerning the TV coverage, are you going to keep Court 10 and 11 on TV?

BRIAN EARLEY: That's a Herb Swan question. I don't know if you have access to him. Herb is one of these guys, if he has a chance to keep a court open, if he knows that he's going to have quality matches, he keeps the court open. He doesn't like it, I'll tell you, but he knows his job. He's very good at it. If he has a chance, if that court is going to get matches that are internationally interesting, interesting to our international partners, he'll keep it open, I know that. He errs to the side of keeping it open too long. I know that, having dealt with him for many years.

Q. Today's forecast? We may play soon.

BRIAN EARLEY: I talked to the guy 15 minutes ago now.

Q. Is he coming in?

BRIAN EARLEY: He said it's starting to clear out. He said it was a low pressure system that was keeping the weather over top of us. That is starting to change, that it should be out of here by 3:30 or 4:00, and then he'd be very surprised if we weren't playing at 5:00. What the schedule is if we're playing at 5:00, I can't tell you. I can't tell you where we are. You know, the schedule will change, I know that, if we're playing at five.

Q. Does he think this dry patch will last for a long time, till the end of the day?

BRIAN EARLEY: Yes, yes. Dry patch should last next couple days. I saw one forecast that said there was going to be rain tomorrow night. He said at this point he doesn't see that happening.

Q. What is the latest you would start a match?

BRIAN EARLEY: This gentleman asked the question a little while ago. All I can say is that we have started men's singles as late as 10:00. I'm not saying we would or we wouldn't. We'd look at pairings and we would talk to the players. At that point the fans aren't quite as important because they've gotten a full day. There's a point of diminishing returns there for the fan who is looking for a match. If he gets to see matches starting at 4:00, now it's 11:00 at night, maybe he's not going to stay, I don't know. Again, it's this balancing act that we play. We do it as best we can. In a situation like this, we're never right. You have lots of chances to be wrong; you don't have any chances to be right.

Q. Was a retractable roof considered when they built the stadium?

BRIAN EARLEY: I was not involved in the discussions. Remember, this is before I was the referee. This is '91, '92. Yes, I know that it was tossed around because Australia was just getting into it at the time. How many years for Australia? Is that 10?

Q. '88.

BRIAN EARLEY: So it's been 15. That's right, it's the 15th year for Laver. It's the third or fourth year for Vodafone. I love two, two is great, because then you can pair guys up.

Q. Would you clarify what the worst experience has been as far as lost sessions?

BRIAN EARLEY: Since I've been involved, two sessions we've lost in any given year.

RANDY WALKER: I haven't found where we've lost two in one tournament. Like '75.

BRIAN EARLEY: We lost two in one day back in the '80s. I think it was '86, but I'm not sure. It was a Tuesday. We can check. There were a bunch of junior matches. We said, "Just come." They came, played twice.

Q. What will you do from a spectator intermingling standpoint if you get a 5:00 start, people with the evening session tickets show up?

BRIAN EARLEY: That's more of a facility's question. My experience has been that at that point, if you have a 5:00 start, you get your match in, and anybody who is a day session holds that ticket until whatever, then you make a decision. If there's a next match to put out, which at 5:00 you're probably not going to get a second match before 7:00, you can send it to another court and say that the day session is now through. If you want to see tennis, there are 14 other courts that have very good tennis, then there's room for you. The number of people that are on the grounds at 3:30 on a rainy day can be accommodated by 10,000 seats in Louis, 4,000 seats in Grandstand, 4, 11 and 7, there's 4,500, 5,000 seats right there. I've just mentioned 20,000 people. There's some pretty entertaining matches out there because we've had to put them out there, not because we wanted to put them out there.

Q. Yesterday Daniela Hantuchova slipped on the wet court. Who made the decision to call off the match?

BRIAN EARLEY: That's a tough one. The chair umpire has the authority to make the on-site call at that point. It's a tough call to make. I'm happy to entertain it. There's no good answer. We had the situation with Mary Joe a couple years ago. Do you remember that? She was up a set and break on Venus in the quarters.

RANDY WALKER: Third round.

BRIAN EARLEY: It was third round, a Sunday, you're right. It was Sunday or Monday. What do you say? That was Round of 16, if I remember correctly. Anyway, she was up a set and a break on Venus. It started raining in the middle of a point. She chose not to stop. I say she did, she chose not to take the risk to stop. You know, remember, if a player catches a ball and looks up at the chair umpire, the chair umpire has a decision to make. The chair umpire says, "Yeah, you're right, it's too wet," or, "You lose the point, then I'll evaluate." That's a tough call to make. If it's raining, as the referee, I walk out there and stop the match. You've seen me do that. People are looking at me like I'm nuts. It's very spitting, just spitting. I'm stuck with this opposite situation with Hantuchova. And as I mentioned, Fernandez-Williams, where you choose not to call it, then somebody slips, now it's your fault. You really err on the side of stopping rather than playing. This one I can't speak about because I haven't spoken to the supervisor who was out there, the referee who was around, or the chair umpire. If I do, I'm happy to answer whatever questions I can based on that conversation, but I have not. Hantuchova did not complain, I will tell you that much. I've watched the last couple points leading up to it. Nobody was even looking at stopping, neither player.

End of FastScripts….

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