Rain no threat to Djokovic US Open defence

Novak Djokovic won’t mind if it rains for the next two weeks in New York.

The US Open’s Arthur Ashe Stadium is now covered by a retractable roof. And based on his experiences at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, which already have one, the 12-time major champ expects more humid conditions once the panels slide shut – which make for a slower court.

“It allows returners like myself to get into the rally rather than seeing missiles pass by from the serves,” Djokovic said.

“I wouldn’t complain, honestly, to play an indoor US Open throughout the whole two weeks.”

The world’s top-ranked player insisted he won’t wake up every morning praying for rain, and his stellar return game certainly doesn’t need much help.

Roger Federer, sidelined by a knee injury, also predicted this week that the roof will aid Djokovic.

The Serb begins the defence of his US Open title Ashe, where he’ll likely play all his matches.

The approximately $US150 million ($A198 million) project to construct a roof over Ashe features an air management system and sliding shutters that seal the stadium, designed to try to minimise the humidity Djokovic so enjoys.

US Tennis Association officials say tests have shown little difference in the conditions open or closed, but the proof will come once matches are first held under the roof.

When that will be is for Mother Nature to determine. Wimbledon champ Andy Murray – who has played in two Monday US Open finals because of weather delays – couldn’t help but quip: “I’ll bet it doesn’t rain this year.”

It takes about seven minutes for the roof to close, and if the court is dry, tournament director David Brewer said, the overall delay won’t be much longer than that.

For the most part, if the roof closes during a match, it will remain shut until the end. It could then be reopened for a subsequent match.

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