[Updated through 11:43 p.m.] Let the headaches begin! Rain started a little before 8:30pm tonight, and the Nadal-Gonzalez match has been temporarily suspended. The USTA just announced that light rain is expected to continue until about 9pm. After then, they plan to race the two players back onto Ashe.
“It doesn’t even seem like it’s raining,” said one lady, walking out of Arthur Ashe, holding her hand out. That’s because it most definitely does not seem like it’s raining. If you walked around Ashe at around the time they suspended play, you’d notice that it barely registers as a drizzle. It’s no-umbrella rain. And yet that’s all it takes to suspend a match.
Once they get back, they’re going to have to move this match quickly because it is incredibly important to the USTA that they get this match completed tonight. There’s a good chance we’re going to have a rainout tomorrow night, and then we’re looking at a men’s final on Monday. Not good for anyone.
UPDATE (9:15 p.m.): Play still still not resumed and a very, very light drizzle continued.
UPDATE II (9:22 p.m.): It is officially not raining here, and the white men in jumpsuits are back on the court trying to dry it. We haven’t heard from the USTA in over 30 minutes with how soon they’re going to get back on the court. The only thing we can tell you is that if it takes that little rain to kick them off the court, we’re not quite sure how they’re going to get this entire match completed tonight.
UPDATE III (9:34 p.m.): The players are returning to the court to the theme from Rocky. They’ll get a full five-minute re-warm-up before play continues.
UPDATE IV (10:23 p.m.): Well, we resumed tennis for about 40 minutes and made it through eight more games, but in the middle of the second set tiebreak, play has been suspended once again. Again, it is hardly raining. It feels like a drizzle, but that’s enough to suspend play once again. Both players have been pulled off the court.
UPDATE V (10:28 p.m.): The USTA has said that they expect light rain for the next 45 minutes, then it’ll clear up and we will resume. According to weather.com, the rain is supposed to clear between midnight and 2 a.m. In that case, we would have just over two hours to try to squeeze this match in. We’ll keep you updated.
UPDATE VI (10:47 p.m.): The folks are back in their white jumpsuits, and they are ready and poised to dry. But they have not been given word yet from the command center to get onto the court. It’s still only the lighest rain out there.
UPDATE VII (11:12 p.m.): The men in the white jumpsuits came on the court for a few minutes and were using squeegees to start the drying process, before they returned inside Ashe. We can tell you it is not raining hard at all right now. We can also tell you that Centre Court looks pretty drenched. The rain hasn’t come down considerably harder in the last half hour, but it does prove just how wet a tennis court can get with a sustained light rain. Right now we’re already a bit behind the USTA’s schedule, but the sight of the jumpsuit men is one sign of encouragement that we’ll resume play.
UPDATE VIII (11:34 p.m.): That sound you hear? A few dozen people cheering inside Ashe! The rain has stopped. And the men in the white jumpsuits are back on the court with little machines (some look like zambonis! Others look like lawn-mowers! We’re a step away from getting the boys with towels) drying that court off. We could have the players back on the court within 20-30 minutes.
UPDATE IX (11:43 p.m.): The weather.com forecast holds true to what we told you about at 10:28. At midnight, we’re looking at a 45 percent chance of rain and that’s falling down to 20 percent between 1 and 3 a.m. But after that? It’s looking bad. Remember, we are in a second set tiebreak. This match could take as little as an hour and as much as three hours to finish.