No roof plans at US Open

2012-06-14 21:57

New York - Despite rain forcing the postponement of the US Open men's final to Mondays for the past four years, there is no roof in the $500m renovation plans unveiled on Thursday by the US Tennis Association.

Wimbledon and the Australian Open already have coverings that can be used to ensure matches are played despite bad weather and the French Open is expected to follow suit but the US Open will make expensive changes with no roof plans.

Second-week showers have thrown off match plans for the past four years, causing rescheduling headaches for players, fans and telecasters.

Louis Armstrong Stadium, built for the 1964 World's Fair and named after the late US jazz legend who once lived nearby, has been a part of the US Open since the event moved from Forest Hills in 1978.

It would be demolished in favour of a new 15 000-seat stadium on the same site. Armstrong Stadium's capacity was reduced from 18 000 to 10 000 seats when Arthur Ashe Stadium opened in 1997, replacing Armstrong as the main court.

The Grandstand, a 6 000-seat No 3 court adjacent to Armstrong Stadium, would be replaced with a new 8 000-seat stadium on the opposite side of the current facility.

Seven tournament courts on the south side of the facility would be relocated slightly and new bleacher seating areas would be provided. Like the Grandstand project, it would require expanding the land area leased by the USTA.

A new parking garage and transportation centre would be created as would an elevated viewing platform for spectators to watch players on practice courts.

The changes would allow as many as 10 000 more spectators a day to attend the US Open.

"Our goal remains to ensure that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center remains a world-class facility," USTA president Jon Vegosen said.

Lawmakers would have to approve the proposal but USTA officials hope to begin work on the project next year.

"The city recognises the crucial need to improve the USTA facility and supports this vision, so that the centre remains a top-ranked tennis venue capable of hosting the US Open," New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.