Rafa On 9/11: 'I Felt Much Pain; I Suffered, Too'

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124643600FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — Rafel Nadal w

as in an unusually reflective mood following his 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 semifinal victory over Scot Andy Murray on Saturday. On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Spaniard took a moment to reflect on the tragedy.

“I don’t know exactly how to say in English, but the image, what I remember from that moment is probably,” said Nadal, pausing to find the right word, “unforgettable. That was really fresh for me at that moment, because I have been there, in the top of the Twin Towers, four months before. I went here for holidays with my family. So I really didn’t believe what’s happened. That’s a hard day for all the people here in New York, all the people in America. But I think for all the people around the world, too, no? Because this kind of tragedy for everybody is hard to accept, hard to understand. I am not an exception. I felt much pain and I suffered, too.

Nadal, who was just 15 and playing in a tournament in Madrid on September 11, 2001, added, “You can have silence in memory of them, but the pain is done. It’s difficult to accept…Just remember the moment and have the support for the families.”

SEMIFINAL SNUB?: Serena Williams, whose semifinal was played in the 24,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, was among those expressed their displeasure upon learning that the Sam Stosur vs. Angelique Kerber semi would be played in the much smaller, 6,000-seat Grandstand Court. Amidst all the rain delays, juggling CBS TV schedules and with Louis Armstrong Stadium unplayable due to a weather-related surfacing snafu, the USTA opted to make the move, saying, “Numerous factors needed to be considered for the rescheduling of the remaining four days of the 2011 U.S. Open. These factors included programming for U.S. Open ticket holders, competitive fairness for players, and the existing television windows for the tournament…We did not want to schedule the two women’s semifinals back-to-back in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night, since the winner of the second match will need to play in the women’s singles final at 4:30 p.m. the following day. Though not ideal, by beginning the Kerber-Stosur match at 6 p.m., we can provide an opportunity for some of our fans to watch that match.”

“I definitely think both women’s matches should have been on center court. I was really shocked that it wasn’t. Especially being on player council, I feel like as women, we’re doing so well in tennis and we’ve come such a long way, and Sam is such a fabulous player, top 10, finals of more than one Grand Slam now and she’s won several tournaments. And Kerber, you know, is such a wildcard and such a great look, to kind of see an exciting time. So I was a little disappointed in that, and I definitely think it will be in our notes for our council meeting.” Stosur, who advanced to the final with a 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 win over the German newcomer, said, “I wasn’t too impressed with the scheduling the way everything had turned out. I understand it’s a tricky situation, but I think things could have been done a little bit differently or communication could have been better to express why things were going to happen the way they happened. In the end, Grandstand is a fantastic court it was a great atmosphere out there and I loved every second of it. That wasn’t the point. I was just trying to stick up for what I thought was the right thing, and unfortunately it didn’t happen.”

THE QUIET HUSH OF 24,000: The New York Times’ Karen Crouse said the almost eerie quiet during Andy Roddick‘s Ashe Stadium loss to Rafael Nadal was “a kind of quiet more often associated with the New York Public Library than the tennis world’s biggest cocktail mixer.”

COFFEY TALK: The Daily News’ Wayne Coffey said quarterfinalist Andy Roddick left the U.S. Open “looking as lost as a schoolkid in Corona Park.”

TWEET OF THE DAY: “On way into the courts and all traffic has been stopped as there are men playing the bagpipes with american flags on top of them….Weird” —Andy Murray

THE NUMBERS

1992: The last time all four top seeds reached the U.S. Open semifinals — Jim Courier, Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Michael Chang.

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QUOTEBOOK

“My skills are very questionable.” — First Lady Michelle Obama, who visited the U.S. Open, on her tennis

“Tennis, at the end of the day, it’s just a game.” — Andy Murray