The US Open got underway on Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with a new attraction — the retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, a feature that will allow play to continue when it rains.
The $150 million retractable roof is expected to help organisers deal with the rain delays that have often plagued the final Grand Slam event on the tennis calendar.
US Open officials said they tested the roof and have a team in place that will work with two meteorologists to prepare for any rainstorms.
The meteorologists will provide weather updates every 30 minutes to US Open referee Brian Earley, who will decide when to close the roof.
The high-tech roof can be closed in about seven minutes, United States Tennis Association (USTA) officials said.
Arthur Ashe Stadium’s retractable roof can be opened or closed in winds up to 45 kph (28 mph), the USTA said.
Meteorologists will monitor the weather until the last match of the day is completed and roof operators will be at the tennis center 24 hours a day.
The tournament’s meteorologists are using a special radar system in Brooklyn to monitor local weather conditions.