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Roofless Courts

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by duggietoo (U7210677) 07 September 2008
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Yet another frustrating, weather dominated fiasco this time at the USO and all because of a lack of roof.

It seems incredible to me that in the 21st century, with tennis being pushed as mass entertainment, that the biggest events in the calendar are subject to the vagaries of climate.

Witness yesterday at the USO, 23,000 ticket holders expecting to see both men's semi finals on the main court and the ladies finals.

After the Fed /Djoko match is underway, the organizers with a "weather eye" on the approaching storm, decided to play the second semi on the Armstrong stadium - which has less than half the capacity (10,000)

So we had a mass exodus of the higher tiers, who had cottoned on that it was free for all next door in the empty one. Despite that and the decision to switch the second match there the rain stopped the Murray /Nadal match in its tracks into the third set.

End of play for the day.

Same in Beijing, a multi million (billion?) complex and no roof to prevent the scheduling nightmare and weather problems.

The Aussies cracked it 20 years ago with not one but 2 retractable roofed main courts. Wimbledon will have one in place for 2009.

It doesnt matter for some sports which can safely be played in the rain, but tennis is not one of them. One of the highlights this year was seeing mops and buckets at some tournaments as they dont even run to courts covers.

Its all a great pity, mainly because we dont get to see the best tennis, with disruptions and the sometimes unfair advantages to one player or another.

Time to get with it perhaps ?

Edit: I hadnt seen this article when posting OP - thanks to BOb for drawing my attention to it - be interesting to see if it happens :

news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/ten...

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posted Sep 7, 2008

Apparently it would cost $100 Million to build a new roof an Ashe.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7602611.stm

The same article says they only lost 9 sessions in the last 20 years, which makes it seem less short sighted to not have a roof on any of the courts.

Aren't the AO roof primaily used to combat the exreme heat and not rain?

As some one else said its more the scheduling that causes problems. If they had put the two mens semis on at th same time then they would probably have finished and we may well have both final completed on sunday which wouldn't be a scheduling disaster at all. Fromt hat perspecive they dont need a roof, they just needed to be precaustionary and not delay taking important decisions.

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posted Sep 7, 2008

I believe the USTA makes around $190m revenue from one year so $100m is not exactly unaffordable. I'd agree, putting one on Ashe would have its challenges, but it's the price they are going to have to pay if they intend to continue to run the schedule around when it suits CBS to air a match, which has been the main architect of the problem currently faced.

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posted Sep 7, 2008

Bob

Thanks for that link - hadnt seen it when I posted article.

The Oz roof is also used for heat extremes now they have heat rules, but it was great forward planning to have a venue not subject to "any" weather extremes and a stadium which can be used for other purposes - concerts and the like.

Whilst I accept 100 million is a lot of money - I think I read that the profit from the USO is something like 190 million - to give some context ?

Of course they didnt want to put the 2 semis on at the same time because of TV scheduling and I believe CBS have a huge influence in scheduling for the mass TV audience.

It all comes down to maximising dollars in the end.

My thought are for the players - atrocious winds and rain delays mean also we dont get the best tennis possible as was in evidence during the womens semis.

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posted Sep 7, 2008

Thanks Fedex

Crossed with my post on the money aspect ok

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posted Sep 7, 2008

The wind is a worse problem than the rain. It happens far more often and is a major blight on the standard for the players.

I am still old fashioned enough to believe that this sport is for the players and the audience is allowed to watch. Sure, the prize money depends on the audience but the sport is for the particiants. To them, the wind is a bigger issue I suspect. They may be able to fix that without a full roof.

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comment by jonhi (U1791863)

posted Sep 7, 2008

$100mil is better invested at training young tennis players.

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posted Sep 7, 2008

$100mil is better invested at training young tennis players
-----------------------------------
Depends on how you look at it - to promote players you need to create a popular sport and tennis has suffered against other US favourites.

If you create the interest people will play and theres enough money swishing around and good training systems to satisfy both.

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posted Sep 7, 2008

Play in the rain like other sports - might make it more fun?

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comment by Bourne (U3020163)

posted Sep 7, 2008

"Play in the rain like other sports - might make it more fun?"

Yeh seeing the players slip on the wet HC and the lines and breaking their ankles is real fun doh

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comment by SM (U1900149)

posted Sep 7, 2008

The fact that the Australian open has roofs because of heat is of no regard. Rain, heat, wind, they are all weather events that interfere with matches and the roof prevents this from happening. The US and especially Wimbledon should of had roofs years ago.

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