US Open must take action and build a roof
Every year we turn up to the US Open wondering if this will be the year they announce concrete plans for the future of the Flushing Meadows complex.
The men's final has been delayed to a third Monday for the last three years and now the 2011 tournament is in a mess after heavy rain in New York.
The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament without a roof on the main show court or a public intention to build one.
Official word had been that nothing had changed. It's too costly to build a roof or Arthur Ashe Stadium is too big to put a roof on it, that sort of thing.
But if long-term plans are being drawn up behind the scenes, which we gather they are, then that is an excellent development.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has faced a barrage of criticism for its failure to grasp the issue. It shouldn't be afraid to tell the world the matter is in hand.
It should be remembered that the USTA is responsible for the development of tennis in the whole of the United States and massive expenditure on its headquarters would mean slashing budgets elsewhere. A financial commitment of hundreds of millions of dollars will not be signed off at the drop of a hat but the project is much needed and now overdue.
The 23,700-capacity Arthur Ashe Stadium is generally thought to be too large to be covered by a retractable roof and, even if a design could be conjured up, a major issue is the high water table in the Flushing Meadows area.
Major tournaments recognise the need for at least one covered show court - Melbourne Park, the venue for the Australian Open, will have three by 2015 - so hopefully the USTA will acknowledge that building a new Armstrong Court with a roof is not enough.
That is because a covered court needs to protect the finals for fans, players and television. It has to be the largest court. Hence the only realistic scenario for Flushing Meadows is a remodelling and down-sizing of the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Will that happen?
Well, it would require an admission from officials that they got it wrong when they built the cavernous bowl in the mid-1990s. But this is a time to face facts and stop dithering.
Talking of which, what a chaotic day Wednesday was: Panic calls, incorrect forecasts and players in revolt.
Andy Murray was amazed to discover towels being used to soak up standing water at the back of the Grandstand court just as he was being told it was fit to play.
No wonder there was a behind-closed-doors meeting between players and officials after a brief period of play. The official line was that a two-hour window of dry weather had been forecast. It turned out to be just 15 minutes.
Murray was told to warm up four times between 4.30pm and 5.30pm local time before his match was finally called off for the day at 5.45pm. All the exertion and adrenalin meant he felt more drained than if he had played.
Then things hit rock bottom during the night session. Officials somehow imagined the women's quarter-finals could be played, calling the competitors to court at 7.30pm only to send everyone home after the knock-ups.
The sight of the world number one Caroline Wozniacki stepping out onto a deserted Armstrong Court was a depressing image. Not a good one for tennis.
It seems the weather has it in for Flushing Meadows. Organisers are doing their best to cope but, in reality, the other majors cope better.
The idea that some players do not start their campaigns until Wednesday has to be abandoned, while the idea that court covers "don't look good" at the side of the court - an assertion made by referee Brian Earley in 2003 - has to be dropped.
The US Open thinks it is the best major in the world but is, at the moment, fighting to avoid being labelled the worst. The quicker it accepts this and the quicker the issues of the past few days are resolved, the better the tournament will be for everyone.