The U.S. Open tennis tournament, always controversial for reasons ranging from New York's heat and inhospitality to Andre Agassi's hair, is already ahead of the curve. It got controversial five days before the event's scheduled start.
Because of a swell of protest, the draw that was done Wednesday had to be redone Thursday.
The original 128-person draw in men's singles was made without the 16 seeded players put in the brackets. Later, the 16 seeded players, in order, were announced and put in the brackets according to normal placement procedures.
That created controversy on two fronts. First, the U.S. Tennis Assn., which runs the event, had decided to depart from procedure in following regular men's tour rankings for its seedings. That meant that No. 2-ranked Thomas Muster of Austria, who normally would have been at the extreme opposite end of the bracket from No. 1 Pete Sampras, was, instead, seeded No. 3 by the USTA in favor of American Michael Chang. The rationale was that Chang is a better hard-court player than Muster, thus deserving of a better position in the draw.
The second area of controversy was the perception that the USTA could have done the seedings after looking at the draw, a violation of the rules and a perceived advantage for some American players.