U.S. Open roof? Don't bet on it
• Yes, after eight days of unimpeachable weather (notwithstanding some windy conditions) at the U.S. Open, it's now coming down in sheets, leading to the inevitable complaints about the absence of a roof. When it starts raining at the National Tennis Center, conversation turns into an amateur disquisition on both meteorology
Will the USTA cover a court? Lord knows it's looked into it. But, as of now, the answer is "no." Apart from the prohibitive costs, putting a roof over the mammoth Arthur Ashe Stadium is virtually structurally impossible, I've been told. Putting a cheaper roof on a smaller court is possible. It would a) satisfy the television partners who surely aren't happy having to reheat matches, and b) unclog the schedule. But the ground beneath Armstrong and the Grandstand is too soggy to accommodate a major construction project. Plus, there's concern that this will alienate fans, especially the high rollers who have purchased luxury suites. Imagine paying for your chamber, replete with catering, and then learning that the matches are being played elsewhere.
A third suggestion I've heard batted around: Tear down Armstrong and the Grandstand and build a new co-stadium, a complement to Ashe, but this one equipped with a covering. (Getting any public funding for this -- less than 15 years after Ashe's opening -- is a big ask.)
We're within our right to gripe about Ashe. The combination of its excessive size and the absence of a roof makes it an easy target, especially when the other Grand Slams have a main court that is both more intimate and covered. But as things stand now, all the gripes and dime-store solutions about combating the elements at the U.S. Open ... you'd be more effective doing a rain dance.
• Kudos are in order. Wozniacki is that tennis contradiction, the player who has little in the way of power but is nevertheless strong. That was some quality fighting Monday night, helped by supreme confidence in her fitness level. The cynic will say (and has said), "How pathetic it is that the top seed staves off the 15th seed and it's celebrated so dramatically"? But I think Wozniacki showed an awful lot of herself.
• Fair enough. I would say that King -- who turns 23 early next year and is playing her (gulp) seventh U.S. Open -- is in a different position than, say, Keys, who's 16. But your point is well-taken. (Here is
• I think you're short a few data points. (One of my favorite quotes: "The plural of anecdote is not data.") But that's interesting nonetheless. Thanks.
• You likely noticed the empty seats on the monstrosity that is Ashe. A lot of fans buy cheap seats to the big stadium and never use them, instead wandering the grounds and watching matches on other courts. If the choice is watching Roger Federer or Serena from the ozone layer or watching a tight match a few rows from courtside, well, that's an easy choice to a lot of fans. Everyone -- rightfully -- beats up on Ashe. But the USTA really did itself proud with that Court 17. It not only is an intimate court but it also has the effect of diverting fans from the smaller courts nearby.
• Very nice. The French Open has the Bullring Court. We have Court Sea World. (Insert Mardy Fish joke here.)
Agree. This. Conceit. Has. Quickly. Gotten. Old. Hasn't. It?
• Player after player say it just doesn't feel right. Gael Monfils and Fish both have endorsements with a sunglasses manufacturer and play "bare-eyed." Sam Stosur and Janko Tipsarevic are exceptions. The latter, in fact,
• A few of you noted that. But you're talking about Navratilova in her 40s (and 50s). Hit that age, and all bets are off. I'm talking about a major champ who could still conceivably compete for Slams (remember: Venus came within a few points of the U.S. Open final last year) saying, "Nah, I'll be a doubles specialist."
• Cliff Andrus of Atlanta: "In regard to chopping off the upper few rows of Ashe Stadium, in the early-to-mid 2000s when I was living in Chicago, the White Sox
• RZ of Los Angeles: "On the theme of tennis nostalgia, did you notice the CBS opening montage to the U.S. Open coverage? The final run-up shows the champions of old, with only Serena Williams (from her win 12 years ago!) and Rafael Nadal as current players. No love for five-time champion Roger Federer or even recent champs Juan Martin del Potro and Kim Clijsters. Just a shame because those few seconds are an excellent marketing opportunity for today's tennis."
• Between John Isner, Irina Falconi, James Blake and Steve Johnson, it's been a nice event for college tennis.
• The Hall of Fame
• Romain Jemma of Paris