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US Open adds extra day in 2013; men's final Monday

US Open adds extra day in 2013; men's final Monday

The U.S. Open tennis tournament is moving the women's final to Sunday and men's final to Monday in 2013, building in a day of rest ahead of each title match for the first time.

The U.S. Tennis Association, which runs the Grand Slam event played in New York, announced the changes Friday - but only for next year.

A decision about 2014 and beyond probably will come after the 2013 tournament, USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier said.

Rain forced the USTA to postpone the men's final from its scheduled Sunday slot to Monday each of the past five years.

Some top male players complained that the U.S. Open was the sport's only major tournament that put their semifinals and final on consecutive days. The men's semifinals in New York will stay on Saturday under the new plan.

Friday's moves end the tradition of what the U.S. Open has called ``Super Saturday'' since 1984, with both men's semifinals and the women's final all on that day's schedule at Flushing Meadows, followed by the men's final Sunday.

Wimbledon, the French Open and Australian Open follow another pattern: women's semifinals Thursday, men's semifinals Friday, women's final Saturday, men's final Sunday. The U.S. Open now joins the French Open - which starts and ends on Sundays - as 15-day Grand Slam tournaments.

As part of the new schedule, the USTA is scrapping its Saturday night session in 2013; the women's final had been played in prime time since 2001.

Now the women's final will be in the old men's final time slot, 4 p.m. ET on Sunday. The men's final will be at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 9. Both will remain on CBS. The tournament will start on Aug. 26.

The USTA also announced Friday that total prize money in 2013 will jump $4 million to a record $29.5 million. The increase is the largest in tournament history, doubling the roughly $2 million hike from 2011 to 2012.

The USTA has not decided how the new money will be distributed.

``Both the prize money increase and the addition of a day of rest are great for the players,'' four-time U.S. Open champion Serena Williams said in a statement issued via the USTA. ``These moves make the tournament stronger than it's ever been for all players.''

Williams' title in New York this year, her 15th at a major tournament, came on a Sunday, the fourth time in the past five years the women's final was delayed a day because of rain.

Unlike at Wimbledon and the Australian Open, the U.S. Open does not have a roof to protect any court used for tournament matches. It's also the only Grand Slam tournament that has been scheduling two men's semifinals a day before the men's final, which leaves less room for scheduling flexibility when there is disruptive weather.

``We listened to the players and understood we needed to accommodate their request for an extra day of rest between the semifinals and final. ... The USTA reached out to many of the top players, player agents, as well as the respective tours,'' Widmaier said.

``So far, everything has been fairly positive. The day of rest is being embraced across the board,'' he added. ``Because of the nature of the game, and to assure a final that can be played at the highest competitive level, you need an extra day of rest. We recognized that.''

In a statement released by the USTA, 2012 champion Andy Murray said: ``I'm pleased that the USTA has modified the U.S. Open schedule to include a day of rest between the semifinals and final. Together with the prize money increase, it's good that they've taken on board the players' concerns.''

Widmaier said the tournament still needs to figure out on which days the men's, women's and mixed doubles finals will be played next year. One reason for the need to reschedule: The women's doubles championship match has been on Sunday in the past, but can't be in 2013, with the singles shifting to that day.

``We appreciate the USTA's announcement of increased prize money and 40 years of equal compensation for the athletes of our sport,'' WTA CEO Stacey Allaster said. ``The changes made for the 2013 U.S. Open are steps in the right direction.''

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Scott Brooks has simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

Scott Brooks has simple reason for why Bradley Beal should be an All-Star

WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal was not picked as a starter for next month's NBA All-Star Game through a voting process that included fans, the media and fellow players. Now it is up to NBA head coaches, who select the seven reserves for each conference.

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks is not allowed to vote for his own player, but believes Beal has a good chance to be picked based on one simple reason. He can tell how much opposing coaches respect Beal each and every night the Wizards play a game.

"Brad's an All-Star. I know that because every night I get to see it. Every night I get to see the defensive schemes against him. He gets double-teamed I want to say every game. That tells me that coaches feel the same way," Brooks said.

Brooks doesn't lobby other coaches to vote for his players, but said others have tried to persuade him in the past. He will "respectfully listen," he says, but believes it is important to do his own research and make his own choices.

"We all take pride in our choice," Brooks said. "It's an elite group and it's hard to get in."

Though Beal isn't a starter, he has a good case for being a reserve. This season he is averaging 28.1 points (third in East), 6.3 assists (10th in East) and 4.5 rebounds per game. 

If Beal doesn't make the All-Star team, it will likely be blamed on the Wizards' record. They are 15-30 and some of his competitors could get credit for being on better teams.

Brooks, though, believes other coaches should consider the circumstances Beal has been in. He says he takes that stuff into account with his own vote.

"There's a lot of factors that go in," Brooks explained. "It's situations. Guys that are on teams that are not playing well... are they not playing well because of him or are they not playing well because they have a lot of young guys, or because they're injured? A lot of players are injured. We've had a lot of injuries this year."

Beal has been an All-Star each of the past two years. We will find out on Thursday if he is in for the third time.

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Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram were at a loss for words when discussing the death of Kobe Bryant

The world mourned the death of a legend Sunday afternoon when the news of Kobe Bryant's death broke.

The timing of the tragedy coincided with the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl, where the NFL's best and brightest were informed of the news.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was emotional when discussing Bryant's passing.

Jackson talked about looking up to Bryant and about how the latter gave him an autographed jersey when he was drafted.

Mark Ingram detailed the reaction in the locker room, saying that it was "devastating" and that "you almost didn't really want to come play.

"The world lost a great one today," Ingram added. "He impacted many, many lives. People he didn't even know."

Nine people reportedly lost their lives in the unspeakable tragedy. They will not be forgotten.

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