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U.S. Open: USTA debuts retractable roof ahead of tournament

A view of Arthur Ashe Stadium with the

A view of Arthur Ashe Stadium with the roof closed at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. Photo Credit: Steven Ryan

The USTA on Tuesday officially raised the roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows in a ceremony.

Rain delays during the U.S. Open will now be a nuisance of the past. The new $150 million state-of-the-art retractable roof officially opened and closed for the first time since architectural firm Rossetti drew up the plan in fall 2013.

Count King herself among those impressed with the latest addition to the tennis center that bears her name.

“It actually looks like a frame to me of a beautiful painting,” King told amNewYork. “...It’s just beautiful, and you just know it’s going to be a great experience no matter what.”

The roof can open or close in seven minutes or less. With less than a month remaining before the U.S. Open, USTA Executive Director Gordon Smith told reporters the “impossible has happened.”

“The fact that you retrofitted a [24,000 seat] stadium that wasn’t built to hold a roof and made it look like it was built originally that way, I think it’s a great testament to the architects, mechanical engineers and contractors,” Smith said. “It’s turned out even better than we could have hoped.”

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