The US Open has already had its worst start to a tournament on account of the bad weather, but more problems loom after an opening match on Saturday was suspended due to heavy rain.
The rain forced the suspension of the Men’s Singles Round of 64 match between Fernando Verdasco and Pablo Carreno Busta. Rainfall on the Arthur Ashe Stadium stands has exceeded two inches so far.
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The organiser vowed to stay in contact with the National Weather Service and makes use of the tournament’s new roof, currently under construction, that is scheduled to be unveiled in time for the tournament’s centenary next year. It closed for the third time in five years during Saturday’s play when the rain began to fall.
“The Arthur Ashe Stadium roof has been closed three times on Sunday, the second of which was part of the agreement with the NWS in July,” said USTA spokesman Chris Widmaier. “We will remain in contact with the NWS and when the forecast calls for additional rain, which is expected in the next 15 to 20 minutes, we will take the necessary action.”
The US Open began without a single session of play as heavy rain led to officials cancelling all the scheduled matches on Sunday’s schedule.
Other players were left to dig in and focus on keeping off court over the next few days. Defending champion Novak Djokovic did not return to the court.
Djokovic, who suffered a stinging defeat to second-round opponent Martin Klizan on Friday, missed a scheduled press conference on Saturday because he was indoors. Instead, he spoke through a small video window in the players’ lounge. Djokovic said he remained stuck inside due to power problems inside the stadium that forced him to turn off his electronics.
“It was a little dark,” Djokovic said. “It was just this room where the video camera was positioned and then maybe a few feet away there’s the smaller booth where you do the interviews. Everything on the other side was a little bit dark.”
Andy Murray played his match in a darkened arena but did not face match point. The Scottish tennis star said after his earlier exit that the conditions were difficult at times and he needed to find a way to tame his serve.
Serena Williams’s first-round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich was called off less than three hours into the rain-delayed action.
Djokovic was locked in a three-set battle with Klizan, who won after the second-round player lost his grip on his backhand and even came close to leaving the court.
Tennis commentators had been calling for the full retractable roof to be closed after a string of incidents that played havoc with the tournament.
On Tuesday, officials evacuated the centre court as thunderstorms hit New York, forcing officials to close the area’s retractable roof. Last month, a glass enclosure was damaged in the second round at Flushing Meadows after heavy downpours soaked the newly-remodeled arena.