Apparently the retractable roof repels rain but at the expense of trapping and reflecting fans’ voices and bouncing the sound to the court. It’s not a problem for Wimbledon and the Australian Open, both of which added retractable roofs a while ago, because, in part, the Arthur Ashe Stadium holds 9,000 more people than the other two courts. One must assume that Americans’ tolerance–if not love–of noise is a factor as well. As the NY Times notes:
At most stadium sporting events, loudness is welcome, or even encouraged. At basketball arenas, football stadiums and baseball parks, video boards frequently implore, “Let’s make some noise!” In tennis, cheering is acceptable after points, but fans are expected to be quiet in the moments leading up to the action and the time during play.
Fan behavior at Ashe Stadium has always been unusual when compared with the three other Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. At the hallowed ground of Centre Court at Wimbledon, talking aloud during a point would probably get fans ejected.
Given the $150 million cost of the new roof, the folks at the U.S. Open probably would love to find a low-cost solution to this problem. May we suggest duct tape? Lots and lots of duct tape.
Thanks to Dr. Daniel Fink for the link.