NEW YORK -- Three players were forced to retire Tuesday at the US Open due to issues related to the extreme heat, conditions that were so intense that Novak Djokovic and his opponent used ice baths to cool down during their opening match.
"I think we should no longer play five sets," Mayer said in Spanish. "That's my opinion, I think that's the past. They won't stop until someone dies. It's incredible, matches become ugly. The only way [to solve this] is to shorten them."
During a break in the second set of the Djokovic-Marton Fucsovics match, Djokovic asked for a trash can -- in case he became ill -- and was provided with several towels with ice for him to cool down. He revealed after the match that during the break the two competitors stripped down and took ice baths side by side in the locker room before resuming the match.
"It was funny," Djokovic said. "Marton and I had the ice baths, one next to the other. So we were in the two ice baths, we were naked in the ice baths and it was quite a wonderful feeling, you know. Battling with a guy for two and a half hours and then you get into the locker room and you haven't finished the match and you're naked in the ice baths. It was quite a magnificent feeling, I must say."
Temperatures hit 98 degrees with a heat index of 107 Tuesday. The United States Tennis Association had released an extreme heat policy for the tournament after one player retired due to heat Monday.
Under the extreme heat policy, men receive a 10-minute break between the third and the fourth sets. No coaching is permitted, but players are allowed to take bathroom breaks and showers to cool down. The tournament referee and the US Open medical team monitor the on-site conditions to determine when the policy will no longer be in effect.
Not all players were happy. Australian John Millman wasn't pleased about the 10-minute break after the third set.
"They should have maybe asked a few people because it seems like they've made up their own rules there," he said after a straight-set victory over Jenson Brooksby. "Probably not the biggest fan of the 10-minute break. I don't know if it does you much good."
This rule change comes after the WTA sent out a statement on Monday reinforcing its policy for the women's side of the tournament, which allows players to take a 10-minute break after the completion of the second set, if one player requests it. A heat break was taken in the Taylor Townsend-Amanda Anisimova match earlier Tuesday. Townsend won the match in three sets after dropping the first set.
"I just imagine I'm laying on a beach with a margarita in hand," Caroline Wozniacki said when asked how she handles the heat during her matches.
It's not just the players who are affected. Fans are feeling the heat, as well. About 20 people were taken to the first aid stations, according to officials, after complaining of dehydration. Some even felt faint. They were given ice packs and electrolytes, and their vitals were checked.
There's no relief coming. Wednesday's temperatures in New York are expected to be just as scorching.