By Rory Carroll
NEWYORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Open will implement its heat rule for the second day running to give suffering players some relief from the brutally hot temperatures and high humidity at Flushing Meadows.
Wednesday is forecast to be the hottest day of the week with the mercury expected to soar to 96 Fahrenheit (35.5 Celsius) as second-round action takes place at the final Grand Slam of the year.
With humidity levels expected to reach over 70 percent, conditions will be more stifling than it was on Tuesday when the United States Tennis Association said five men retired from their first round matches due to “heat-related” issues.
The heat rule allows the women a 10-minute break between the second and third sets of their matches and the men the same amount of time between the third and fourth sets.
The heat rule is common in the women’s game but was implemented at the Open for the first time on Tuesday for the men.
Serbian Novak Djokovic used his 10-minute respite to cool off in an ice bath alongside his opponent on Tuesday.
The cool down appeared to recharge the Serb, who finished off his first-round opponent Marton Fucsovics 6-3 3-6 6-4 6-0.
The sweltering conditions also left France’s Alize Cornet dazed and confused as she returned from her heat break with her shirt on back-to-front.
When she realised her mistake, she walked towards the back of the court as she pulled off her striped top, briefly exposing her black sports bra, before slipping it back on the right way round.
However, much to her annoyance and bemusement, that quick outfit adjustment earned her a code violation from umpire Christian Rask.
Many people labelled the umpire’s decision as sexist, with one fan tweeting: “You cannot be serious! Men change their shirts on court all the time … that’s ridiculous!!!!”
Tournament organisers on Tuesday said they would consider closing the roofs on the two stadiums overnight to cool them off but on Wednesday told Reuters the roofs had remained open overnight.
There are still no plans to close the roofs on either Arthur Ashe or Louis Armstrong stadiums on Wednesday, they said.
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)