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US Open returns to Sunday men's final

Published:Monday | August 31, 2015 | 8:00 AM

NEW YORK (AP):

For the first time since 2007, the US Open men's final could be played on a Sunday.

That is the traditional final day of a Grand Slam tennis tournament - including in New York - until five straight years of rain, followed by a two-year schedule change partly prompted by that wet weather, pushed the last match to Monday. Now, under the US Tennis Association's new TV contract with ESPN, the sport's fourth major of the season will look like the first three.

Gone for good is "Super Saturday", the old format pairing the men's semis and women's final. The men get their desired day off between the last two rounds, while the women's semis are now in Thursday prime time.

"'Super Saturday' was great, but the intensity of the game and the physicality of the game really made that inappropriate," said Gordon Smith, the USTA's executive director, adding it became clear in the last 5-7 years that it wasn't viable for the top men to play hugely important five-set matches on back-to-back days.

"It wasn't fair to the players, and it wasn't fair to the fans," Smith said.

After rain postponed the men's final to Monday from 2008-12, the USTA decided before the 2013 edition to plan for a 15-day tournament from the start - a temporary fix under CBS's contract at the time to air the late rounds. That meant no "Super Saturday" and the day off for the men they had long been lobbying for.

"The problem was, before, it was 'Super Saturday' and Sunday, and I know it was very popular with the fans ... but you could have 12 days of beautiful sunshine, and then one rain and everything would be all over the place," said five-time US Open champ Roger Federer, who's thrilled one day of rain will no longer be a problem next year once the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium is completed.