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Nadal slams officials over unsafe courts

Rafael Nadal was unhappy with U.S. Open officials after being sent out to play on Wednesday when the courts were still damp.
Rafael Nadal was unhappy with U.S. Open officials after being sent out to play on Wednesday when the courts were still damp.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spaniard leads revolt against officials after being forced to play in slippy conditions
  • Murray and Roddick join Nadal in protest about unfit state of courts
  • Men's and women's quarterfinal matches postponed

(CNN) -- Defending champion Rafael Nadal hit out at U.S. Open organizers on Wednesday claiming players' safety was being put at risk in a bid to make up for lost time at the rain-affected event.

Nadal spent just 15 minutes on court in his already delayed fourth round match against Gilles Muller before rain intervened, but was unhappy that he had been sent out to play in the Arthur Ashe Stadium in the first place.

"We don't want to go on court if it is raining. If I have to go on court, I go on court, but I think it's not fair," Nadal said, AFP reported.

"It was still raining when they called us on court. The rain never really stopped, the courts were not dry. I know the fans are there but the health of the players is important," he added, AFP reported.

The rain never really stopped, the courts were not dry. I know the fans are there but the health of the players is important
--Rafael Nadal
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The Spaniard's concerns were echoed by Andy Roddick and Andy Murray who was also in fourth round action on Wednesday.

Is Nadal's fit of cramp the tip of the burn-out iceberg?

"The lines get really slippy. Players want to play more than anyone, but not when it's dangerous. The back of the court was soaking and the balls were wet too. Everyone mentioned it to the officials but they said it was fine. It didn't make sense to go out on court for seven or eight minutes and then come back inside," Murray said, AFP reported.

The three players made their feelings clear in an robust discussion with tournament referee Brian Earley, but U.S. Open officials defended their decision to send the players out saying that weather reports had indicated that their was a two-hour window when it would be dry.

"Unfortunately, not all light rain and mist shows up on radar," The U.S. Tennis Association said in a statement.

"We have experienced referees, and they decide if courts are fit for play. Conditions may be not ideal, but still can be safe. However, if a player or players feel that conditions are unsafe, we listen to them, as we have always done, and the referee uses that information as part of his/her assessment on whether to continue or halt play," continued the statement.

Murray is trailing 2-1 to America's Donald Young in his match, while Nadal is down 0-3 against Muller.

Andy Roddick is currently 3-1 up against Spain's David Ferrer.

The scheduled men's quarter-final matches between Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic and Roger Federer against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have all been postponed and will now take place tomorrow, weather permitting.

The women's quarterfinals featuring top seed Caroline Wozniacki, three-time champion Serena Williams and number two seed Vera Zvonareva were also delayed because of the rain.

Wednesday's deluge follows Tuesday's wipe out, which was the first time both the day and night sessions had been cancelled at the tournament for five years.

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