© Ella Ling

John Isner

US Open diary: Isner was late but had nothing on Hewitt

It was a late, late show at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night/Monday morning with the third-round match between Philipp Kohlschreiber and John Isner equalling the latest ever finish at the US Open, at 2.26am. After an evening session interrupted by rain, the match began just after 11pm and lasted three hours, 26 minutes. A good number of fans stayed into the night to watch and the majority of them were as disappointed as Isner when he lost in five sets.
By the time Isner came into fulfil his press commitments it was after 3am and the journalists who stayed right to the bitter end had to do a quick turnaround to get back on site in time for Monday’s schedule. The German press were only slightly happier than the Americans.
Now that’s late, but it’s nowhere near the all-time record for a late finish at a grand slam event, a dubious honour that goes to the Australian Open and the match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis, which finished at 4.34am in 2008. Hewitt did his press conference at 5.25am and journalists were still filing their stories by 7am. They – and more importantly Hewitt – were fried come the next round.

Rafael Nadal may not be in New York this year but his PR man Benito Perez-Barbadillo is and even though the world No 3 is not around because of injury, Benito has had his hands full over the past 10 days. The former ATP Tour man has plenty of other work interests to look after – The Tennis Space columnist Janko Tipsarevic is one of his company’s clients – but he has also taken it upon himself to defend Nadal against some rather unsavoury claims on forum sites around the world.

It began when www.ubitennis.com reported a conversation with Perez-Barbadillo saying that Nadal was unlikely to make the Davis Cup semi-final against the United States. The piece was picked up by the Spanish press as being definite but Perez-Barbadillo clarified that it had only been his thoughts.

Meeting the Italian press to discuss the situation, he then hit out at various forum sites in Italy that cast aspersions on Nadal and even says he may hire a lawyer to combat suggestions he is not clean. Perez-Barbadillo also said that when Nadal does return, he would be back “stronger than ever”. You can read the full story here: