NEW YORK — Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray got in about 15 minutes of tennis Wednesday, barely enough to work up a sweat, but more than enough to get into a snit.
Rain washed out the matches for the second straight day at the U.S. Open, creating a logjam in the schedule and a bigger mess in the locker room, where the big-name players questioned the wisdom of putting them out on courts that were still damp because of a fine mist that was falling in the morning.
Shortly after they started, play was called, then late in the afternoon, the men were sent home.
Much later, and right after Serena Williams warmed up for her match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the U.S. Tennis Association scrubbed the women's matches, too, calling everyone back for an 11 a.m. start today, when the weather forecast is for an 80 percent chance of rain.
"Right now it's our intention to finish the tournament on time," tournament director Jim Curley said, though he acknowledged all the things working against that.
If the weather cooperates, a man on the bottom half of the draw — Nadal, Roddick or Murray, for example — would need to win four matches in four days for the title. The men on the top half — Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic among them — had their quarterfinal matches postponed and are in for a long haul as well.
The players who started play Wednesday expressed their concerns about being put in harm's way. When play was halted, they marched straight into the tournament referee's office to discuss the situation.
"If you know you're going to go on court only for 10 minutes, you don't have to lie to the fans at that point, and you don't have to lie to the players, too," said Nadal, the defending champion, who trailed unseeded Gilles Muller 3-0. "The players knew when we (went) on court that it was still raining, so it was a very strange decision, and we were upset about that."
Curley said only one player — Roddick — made any mention to a chair umpire of the slick conditions when he walked on the court. "At the end of the day, it's the referee who makes the call on whether or not the court is fit for play," Curley said.
No. 21-seeded Roddick — who got an early break and led No. 5 David Ferrer 3-1 when play was stopped — said he did speak to the chair umpire before play began.
"I was just wondering if he saw the same mist in the air that I saw," Roddick said. "The back (of the court) was still a little wet. I understand everyone wants to see it on TV, and certainly, at the end of the day, we're a sport, but this whole thing is a business. Everyone here is kind of in the same boat, so they need a product on the court."
No. 4 Murray was trailing Donald Young 2-1 but on serve when the match was halted. "It didn't really make a whole lot of sense in the end to go out for nine or 10 minutes when it's still raining," Murray said.