Players stay dry but noise rains down at U.S. Open
By Steve Keating
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A $150 million high-tech retractable roof for the Arthur Ashe Stadium court looked like money well spent as play went ahead as scheduled on Thursday, despite steady rain at the U.S. Open.
But while fans stayed dry, United States Tennis Association (USTA) officials were showered with complaints about the noise inside the cavernous 23,771-seat facility that left umpires pleading for quiet and players unable to hear the ball coming off their racquets.
Wimbledon and Olympic champion Andy Murray, who has played his opening two matches on the showcase court - one under an open roof, the other closed - said he had noticed a definite rise in noise level but was pleased to have completed his match.
"At first, we didn't know if there was just more people come in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realized it was the rain," said Murray, following his 6-4 6-1 6-4 win over Spain's Marcel Granollers on Thursday.
"It was tough, you couldn't really hear the ball which makes it tricky. But we're lucky to play under the roof; otherwise there wouldn’t be any tennis so it's good for everyone."
The new covering, which follows years of rain delays and postponements that often extended the year's final grand slam to an extra day, leaves the French Open as the only slam without a retractable roof, which they hope to put in place by 2020.
UNIQUE PROBLEM Continued...