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Page last updated at 21:45 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 22:45 UK

US Open to 'develop' roof plans

Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Date: 31 August - 14 September
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Arthur Ashe Stadium
The Arthur Ashe Stadium does not have any covers

US Open officials say they are ready to "develop" plans for a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium but any decision remains "some time" away.

This year's event has been disrupted by rain and an extra day's play will be required for the second year running.

But the estimated $100m cost of a roof remains a major issue.

"We are substantially farther along the road of consideration than we were six months ago," said US Tennis Association chief Gordon Smith.

"There had been a few preliminary studies regarding a roof.

"We have gone past the consideration stage of 'Are we going to at least look at plans?' to actually developing plans, which at some point in the not-too-distant future will give us some idea of cost."

He added: "It will be some time before there's any decision made on whether or not to go forward with the roof.

We have a particular finals scenario that we've had in place for several decades, and we're comfortable that it is, in fact, fair

US Open director Jim Curley on 'Super Saturday'

"We would be looking at issues some years down the road and the present economy has not slowed the process at all."

The main courts at the Australian Open and Wimbledon each have a roof, and there are plans to construct one at the French Open.

But the size of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which has a capacity of 23,000, makes it a more expensive process than at the other Grand Slam tournaments.

"Would be great to have a roof," said Smith. "Would be great to have the money to put the roof up. It's a much more difficult decision.

"The reason is we're non-profit. Our mission is to grow and develop the game of tennis.

"Are you going to spend $100m or more, we don't know exactly, on a roof that you might use once a year, which would be the average, or is the money better spent promoting the game?"


An alternative to building a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium would be to do so on the Louis Armstrong Stadium or Grandstand Stadium.

"The master planning group is going to consider a wide range of options," said Smith.

"Once we understand the cost of the roof over Ashe, it could lead to some consideration of other options. Nothing is out at this point.

"When we look at the design considerations, the cost of that, consideration of another stadium is not off the table."

The 'Super Saturday' format of playing both men's singles semi-finals and the women's final on the same day, before the men return 24 hours later for their final, has also come in for criticism.

"We have a particular finals scenario that we've had in place for several decades, and we're comfortable that it is, in fact, fair," said tournament director Jim Curley.

"If you were to ask a player, would they say it's ideal? No, they would not say it's ideal. A player would like to get a day in between the semis and the finals. We all know that.

"It's important from our USTA perspective to promote and develop the growth of the game.

"It gets to a much larger audience, and that's one of the reasons why we do it."

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see also
Rain forces Monday US Open finish
11 Sep 09 |  Tennis
US Open day 13 as it happened
12 Sep 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis

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