U.S. Open to get Teflon roof, somehow

The United States Tennis Association, which last month won approval for a 0.68-acre expansion of its campus in Queens’ Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, yesterday announced one new amenity it plans to add: a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.

No price was revealed, but this is one of the few times that a retractable roof could probably pay for itself, given how often the U.S. Open gets delayed by rain. The bigger question is how on earth they’ll make it work — retractable roofs typically take of a lot of acreage thanks to all the columns and machinery needed to make them retract, and the USTA site is already pretty jam-packed with stuff.

An earlier report indicated that the roof might be made out of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, better known as Teflon), and would include a fixed element as well as a retractable part. That’s the same material as was used for the roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court, with the one caveat that Arthur Ashe is way, way, bigger than Wimbledon, so the engineering is bound to be more complicated. There’s supposed to be a press conference today with the roof designer; hopefully we’ll learn more then.