Open and shut! US Open closes roof for 1st time during match
NEW YORK (AP) The U.S. Open used its new, $150 million retractable roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium during a match for the first time Wednesday night.
The cover took about 5 minutes to close at 3-all in the second set of 14-time major champion Rafael Nadal's second-round match against Andreas Seppi.
After dealing with rain delays and postponed finals for years, the U.S. Tennis Association finally built a movable roof over its main stadium. It was available for this year's tournament, which started Monday, but the first two days were dry.
A light rain began to fall while Nadal and Seppi were playing. Tournament referee Brian Earley was monitoring the weather from off to the side of the playing surface and eventually walked over to chair umpire Cedric Mourier and the two players to let them know he wanted to shut the roof.
''This might take very few minutes,'' Mourier announced to the spectators. ''Thank you very much for your patience.''
Some fans applauded. Others pulled out their cell phones to shoot photos of the structure as it moved. Even Nadal took a glance overhead to sneak a peek.
In an interview with ESPN during its broadcast of the match, tournament director David Brewer said: ''This is why we built the roof in the first place.''
Asked what he thought of how things went Wednesday, he replied: ''Pretty sweet from my point of view.''
The USTA has said that, based on pre-tournament testing, the expectation is there will be little difference in playing conditions whether the roof is open or closed.
The only use of the roof until Nadal's match came when it was shut at the start of the tournament's opening ceremony Monday night, then opened while Phil Collins sang ''In the Air Tonight.''
The U.S. Open men's final was postponed in five consecutive years because of wet weather from 2008-12.
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