Djokovic demands roof at rain-lashed US Open

New York: World number one Novak Djokovic demanded besieged US Open officials build a roof over one of their showcase courts as tempers boiled over at the rain-hit Grand Slam tournament on Wednesday.

Only 15 minutes of action was possible before rain, which had washed out the entire programme on Tuesday, returned to send the likes of Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick scurrying off court in anger and frustration.

They claimed that officials were putting profits ahead of player safety in a desperate ploy to make up for lost time

"This is a Grand Slam tournament event with huge revenues, so maybe they should consider a roof in future," said Djokovic.

Of the other three Grand Slams, the Australian Open and Wimbledon both have courts with retractable roofs while the French Open will follow suit by 2016.

Only the US Open has failed to build a roof with organisers claiming in that it would cost up to $200 million to put a roof over the main Arthur Ashe Stadium which was built in 1997.

Djokovic, whose scheduled quarterfinal against fellow Serb Janko Tipsarevic fell victim to the rain and was moved to Thursday, said he supported Nadal and Murray who claimed they should not have been sent out to play earlier in the day.

They played just 15 minutes in misty rain and claimed the courts were so slippery that their health and safety was being risked.

"I have been in the same situation and I agree with their statements today. Health should be considered more. We are aware of the business side of tennis and that tickets have been sold.

"We want to play, but the health of the players is a priority."

Bureau Report

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