As the list of players withdrawing from the US Open at Flushing Meadows gets longer, one designer has summed up the mood in the tennis world with a new take on a classic painting.
Edinburgh-based designer Nial Smith - who has previously mocked up Hollywood-style film posters starring Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic - produced an updated version of Edward Hopper’s 1942 artwork Nighthawks, featuring four of the biggest names to have withdrawn from the final Slam of the year.
Using images taken from press conferences, Smith has Murray and Djokovic sitting at the bar, with Kei Nishikori and Stan Wawrinka in the middle.
Adverts for the US Open can be seen on the walls of the diner and outside, featuring Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, while a newspaper stand outside features the New York Times with a banner headline reading ‘US Open begins tomorrow.’
Smith tweeted his version of the painting, with Murray’s mother Judy retweeting it with the comment ‘Having withdrawal symptoms?’
At the time of writing, the post has been retweeted more than 450 times, and like over 800 times.
Asked on Twitter why Milos Raonic - who had a procedure to remove fragments of bone from his wrist - didn’t feature in his version of Nighthawks, Smith simply replied: “There wasn’t enough room at the bar.”
Murray pulled out of the tournament after his final practice session with Lucas Pouille after the hip injury that hampered him at Wimbledon flared up again.
Djokovic won’t play again this season due to an elbow injury he has said is due to ‘excessive playing’ while Wawrinka will also miss the rest of the year having undergone knee surgery.
Nishikori, too, is unlikely to make an appearance until January after tearing a tendon in his right wrist, and Raonic’s future plans are uncertain after his surgery.
Last year Murray competed in 87 matches, Nishikori in 79 and Djokovic in 74. The latter has played an astonishing average of 82 matches in each of the last ten years.
The fact that the US Open is staged on hard courts won’t have helped, with the surface known for being the most taxing on players’ bodies.
But Nadal voiced his concerns over the balls used in his pre-tournament presser, calling it a ‘very bad decision’ to use a different ball at Flushing Meadows to the ones used at the North American hard-court tournaments in August, such as Toronto and Cincinnati. Different balls are also used at the ATP’s clay court Masters events during spring, and the French Open at Roland Garros.
Nadal, who has had no shortage of injuries himself, added: “It’s bad for the wrist, for the elbow and for the shoulder. There are contracts and I understand that, but there is some way that you can fix it, no?”
• The US Open is held at Flushing Meadows in New York, from August 28 until September 10