The U.S. Open doesn’t do anything by halves.
It’s the last-of-the-season, unique-in-its-schedule, tough-on-the-body one.
It’s the final-set-tie-break, day-and-night-session, biggest-of-all one.
And it’s the heat-of-the-sun, wind-in-your-hair, drench-the-court-wet one.
But even by New York standards, the 2010 edition had more than its fair share of weather.
Week 1 had debilitating temperatures pushing toward 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Week 2 had winds that brought flags to attention and whipped debris into a frenzy.
And in an appropriate climax, the final-day set piece of the tournament fell foul of the elements, too.
The heavens opened and the world waited. The men’s final was delayed to a third Monday for the third successive year.
One man in Flushing Meadows must have sent a small prayer up to those iron-grey saviors. Only 20 hours before, Novak Djokovic won what he described as one of the most memorable matches of his career. At the fourth attempt in consecutive years, he beat his U.S. Open bête noir, Roger Federer, in a pulsating three-and-three-quarter hours of gripping, blood-on-the-court tennis.
He craved every minute of recovery time he could squeeze from the inclement weather.
For he faced the ultimate tennis challenge: Rafael Nadal.