Roof Work Continues On US Open Site

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Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Arthur Ashe Stadium Tennis News

Photo courtesy USTA

The good news from the US Open is that the new roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and the new Grandstand Court will both be ready for the first day of this year’s tournament beginning August 29.

But the bad news is that reasonably good weather at last year’s event, with only one day of significant rain, meant insufficient data was gathered on how best to use the new structure. Gordon Smith, the United States Tennis Association chief executive, admitted: “I wish we’d have had worse weather so we’d be better ready for this year.”

The plan for the massive new roof over the 23,771 capacity stadium is that it will only be used in times of inclement weather and not, like the retractable roofs at the Australian Open’s Melbourne Park, in times of extreme heat.

”We want this to be an outdoor tournament; we want to keep the roof open if at all possible,” added Smith, saying a meteorological crew on site should be able to accurately predict rain within about half an hour of its arrival in the Flushing area of the New York borough of Queens.

”We will run a little risk of getting some rain on the court in order to keep this an outdoor event, to keep the competition fair for everybody.”

Danny Zausner, the chief operating officer of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, maintained that if the Ashe Stadium court gets wet before the roof closes, the delay will be no more than half an hour. The stoppage will be more like 15 minutes if it closes before the rain starts. The roof’s two retractable panels take about seven minutes to slide shut.

During a special USTA update in New York, it was revealed the old Grandstand, the Open’s third-largest venue, will sit empty during this year’s tournament, then will be demolished afterward. Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second-biggest facility, will also be torn down at that time.

The new Armstrong, also complete with a retractable roof, will not be ready until the 2018 tournament, with capacity increasing from 10,000 to 14,000. For the 2017 Open, a temporary stadium that can seat 8,500 will be erected in the parking lot adjacent to the old Grandstand.

Copyright © 2016. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.