• US Open

Djokovic calls for roof to be used at US Open

ESPN staff
September 8, 2011
Groundstaff have worked tirelessly to dry the courts but they have been fighting a losing battle © Getty Images

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has added his voice to the growing discontent among players at the US Open, imploring the organisers at Flushing Meadows to install a roof in the future.

The tournament's schedule in New York has been thrown into chaos after rain wiped out Tuesday's entire programme and largely affected Wednesday's itinerary, when only 16 minutes of play was possible after an hour-and-a-half delay.

The prospect of a third Monday for the fourth successive year is now a distinct possibility and, with the likes of Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal making known their disapproval of playing in "dangerous" conditions, calls for a roof to be installed are mounting.

Djokovic told ESPN: "It's been like this in New York for the last couple of years. It's been happening more often than we expect it to so maybe this tournament should consider a roof in the future.''

The Australian Open and Wimbledon already boast the use of a roof during inclement weather conditions, while the French Open has announced plans to install one over Court Philippe Chatrier in time for the 2016 tournament. Although a roof would be the ideal solution to an ongoing problem, it may be difficult to construct as the New York site is built on landfill.

However, Jeff Tarango - a member of the USTA board of directors - says plans are already in place for roofs on the Arthur Ashe and Louis Armstrong Stadiums. He told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's called the 'strategic vision' and the plans will be showcased and unleashed very shortly. We had a quote for rebuilding that just got doubled on us. We have a very good strategic plan for getting the roof. It's a really tough decision but it is in place and all the money is being secured, saved up and taken care of.

"Because of the building codes in New York and because of the existing structure we would have to demolish both courts to do them both in one year. That's why we're calling it a vision, because it's going to be a two or three-year instalment process. The plan is to demolish Armstrong and we'll see what we go with after that."

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