Play was suspended late Monday afternoon as a cold front brought wind and rain into the Houston area. With no relief in sight, five unfinished matches were carried over to Tuesday, which was more than 30 degrees cooler than when they began.
“It’s crazy how opposite the temperature was,” said American wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who won her first set yesterday against Danielle Lao and completed the victory today. “When we started the match yesterday, I was sweating – it was humid, it was muggy. Then this torrential downpour came, then the temperature dropped.”
When matches began on Tuesday, the temperature was around 40 degrees, and players, coaches, staff and volunteers took the necessary steps to keep cozy.
“All the ballkids were bundled up with their gloves and their hats and were trying to stay warm. I actually had hand warmers on the changeovers to keep my hands warm. As long as my hands are warm, I felt pretty good.”
Another player whose match started Monday but finished Tuesday was American Collin Altamirano, who won the first set, but was down 1-4 in the second when the rain came. He used the break to reset and get ready to mount a comeback.
“I got off the court and talked to my coach about it a little bit, but for the rest of the night kind of forgot about it,” he said.
The laid-back, yet focused approach served the former UVA Cavalier well, winning the match in a second-set tiebreak over Gage Brymer.
“I didn’t change much,” he said. “If anything, before the delay I got away from what I was doing at the beginning. So when I talked to my coach, it was about doing what was working at the start of the match and I was happy with how I did that today.”
Although the conditions are strange for many Texans who are used to warmth most of the year, the pros like Mattek-Sands and Altamirano are no strangers to playing in a variety of different climates all over the world.
“Everybody has to play in it, nobody has the advantage,” said Mattek-Sands. “It’s just who can deal with it the best. In the cold, it’s about keeping your body warm and keeping your feet moving. It can be easy to let some of those outside factors frustrate you.”