New York: Rainouts at Arthur Ashe Stadium will be history after this year`s US Open, thanks to a new retractable roof whose 5,000-ton steel structure looms over the huge tennis venue.
Construction began last September on the eight main support columns for the massive umbrella over the sport`s largest arena, but the two retractable 125-foot (38.1m) by 250-foot steel and Teflon canopy panels are not yet in place.
"For the 2015 US Open, the fans will see the entire fixed portion of the roof, nearly everything but the two retractable portions," said Daniel Zausner, chief operating officer of the National Tennis Center.
"It`s an awesome feeling to know that sometime in the not-so-distant future, we will have a facility that will be the envy of the sports world."
A covering to the south and west sides of the venue will ensure no uneven shadows upon the court for matches when the Flushing Meadows fortnight begins Monday.
Rain has struck time and again in recent years to spark the roof decision, along with other Grand Slam events spending the money for main-court coverings.
The US Open men`s final was delayed to Monday five years in a row from 2008 through 2012 due to rain striking at various stages over the final days of the tournament.
The $100 million (89.4 million euro) roof, with 24 structural supports that sink some 200 feet into the ground, will never make contact with Ashe Stadium, but will hang over the upper rows and feature a similar color and design to blend in with the famed 22,500-seat venue, which cost $254 million and opened in 1997.
"The structure is something well made," said defending men`s champion Marin Cilic.
"It`s going to be a great experience for the players and the fans."
Work on the roof resumes after this year`s champions are crowned and it will be tested next year ahead of its debut at the 2016 US Open.
When in place, it is expected to take between five and seven minutes to open or close the roof.
The project, funded by the US Tennis Association, is part of an overall $500 million revamp of the National Tennis Center that includes a new 8,000-seat Grandstand court set to open in 2016 and a new Louis Armstrong Stadium set to debut in 2018.
Neither of those stadiums will have a roof but the one over the main court will ensure telecasters a match to show even if rain hits New York.