Time For A Roof

I don’t know if you are watching or following any of the U.S. Open tennis in Queens, but the conditions are pretty ridiculous right now.  For one, the Womens’ Final has already been postponed until tomorrow because NYC is going to get blasted with bad weather, but for now the men are being forced to play in the approaching storm.  That means they are fighting with huge winds and you can see the ball moving in all sorts of strange ways when they try and toss their serve or hit a lob. It’s the third set of the first semifinal and it will take a miracle to get in a second set.

Weather delays are nothing new for the U.S. Open, the tournament hasn’t finished on time since 2007.  The solution of course is a retractable roof, something the USTA has never embraced.  I understand that covering Arthur Ashe Stadium, a ridiculously-large 23,000 seat TENNIS stadium, is not an easy task.  But, covering Armstrong Stadium, a stadium the USTA plans to demolish and rebuild, should be feasible. The new Armstrong Stadium is projected to have 15,000 seats along with a new grandstand court with 8,000.  Combined, those two courts would seat about what Ashe Stadium seats, but you obviously can’t play a tennis match in two places at once.

So, here’s my proposal.  Rebuild the two courts and put a roof on them.  Sell future tickets to the final rounds of the U.S. Open as follows- 15,000 with a guarantee that they will see live tennis and the remaining 8,000 or so without it.  If the rains come the 15,000 with the guarantee can take their “rain checks” and walk over to Armstrong Stadium where the match will be held.  Allow the 8,000 or so other patrons to walk over to the Grandstand Court and watch the tennis on giant video screens while they consume free hot dogs and soda. It’s not a perfect solution by any means, but it would at least guarantee that tennis is played when it is scheduled to be played and that no one is forced to play in ridiculous weather.

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