NYT: Federer’s Loss at U.S. Open Makes Him Poster Boy for Climate Change Dangers

Roger Federer
Getty Images/Mohammed Elshamy/Andalou Agency

Roger Federer’s surprise loss to 55th ranked John Millman in the U.S. Open on Monday, is an upset that made sports headlines. However, the New York Times decided a hot summer night provided an opportunity to advance the cause of man-made climate change.

After noting that Federer has won the U.S. Open five consecutive times from 2004 to 2008 and that this was the first time he has lost to a player outside the Top 50 at the tournament, the Times quoted Federer about the weather.

“It was hot,” Federer said. It “was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air; there was no circulation at all.”

From there, the Times reported:

To some, the comments by Federer, 37, may sound like sour grapes. But they also underscore a growing problem: increasing nighttime temperatures.

Under climate change, overall temperatures are rising — 2018 is on track to be the fourth-warmest year on record — but the warming is not happening evenly. Summer nights have warmed at nearly twice the rate of summer days. Average overnight low temperatures in the United States have increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit per century since 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While daytime temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) have been a persistent problem at this U.S. Open, forcing officials to offer players heat breaks and suspend junior matches, conditions Monday night were not much cooler. Temperatures hovered in the mid-80s, with the humidity for much of the match above 70 percent.

The Times admitted: “Short-term weather conditions are not the same as long-term changes to the climate, and a few hot days do not prove a trend. 

“But the unusual heat and humidity that appeared to strain Federer are in keeping with the changes that atmospheric scientists are seeing under human-caused global warming,” the Times argued.

“You have soaking wet pants, soaking wet everything,” Federer said after his losing match, according to the Times.

Federer told the Times that Millman, who lives in Brisbane, Australia, might have had an advantage in the match because “he maybe comes from one of the most humid places on earth.” 

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