US Open temperature makes officials partially close roof


NEW YORK — On the hottest day yet at the US Open, as temperatures soared to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with more than 50% humidity, tournament officials partially closed the roof at Arthur Ashe Stadium to provide shade for Wednesday’s quarterfinal matches between Aryna Sabalenka and Zheng Qinwen, and Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev.

“Brutal conditions for both of us,” Medvedev said after his 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 win over Rublev, adding that he had a difficult time seeing the ball after the first set. “I mean, I don’t know if it could be seen through the camera, because we are sweating so much and use a lot of towels, I have no skin left on my nose here. And here, it’s red, but it’s not because of the sun. I just saw Andrey in the locker room and his face is very red, and it’s also not because of the sun.”

Throughout the men’s match, which began around 1:45 pm ET, both players were clearly suffering from the heat. Medvedev needed two medical timeouts in which he used an inhaler, and both men used fans and ice packs throughout the match to cool their bodies. At one point, Medvedev looked into a TV camera and said, “One player is going to die, and then they’re going to see.”

Not every player, however, felt hampered by the New York heat. Zheng, whose match ended around 1 p.m., said she did not find the temperatures in New York to be particularly bothersome. “For me, it is not hot at all,” Zheng said after losing in straight sets to Sabalenka. “I wouldn’t even consider this weather hot. I mean, this is a good temperature.”

The move to partially shut the roof came one day after US Open officials adopted a new policy for the remainder of this year’s tournament to do so in extreme conditions to protect the players and fans. The decision to change the roof policy was made during Coco Gauff’s quarterfinal victory over Jelena Ostapenko on Tuesday but wasn’t implemented until after the match, tournament referee Jake Garner told The Associated Press.

“The immediate impact is specifically that more fans were shaded,” Garner said, “and at the same time, the decision to close the roof puts the court in full shade, which does improve the conditions on court.”

Rublev said the partially closed roof at least provided some shelter from the sun. “It was not easy, but at least we were playing in the shadow,” he said. “Sometimes I prefer to play like this than when it’s completely sunny and maybe [there is] less humidity.”

Fans were handed sweatbands as they entered Arthur Ashe stadium ahead of Wednesday’s night matches. The forecast calls for even hotter temperatures Thursday.

Rublev said he was thankful that despite the heat, fans are still packing Ashe. “I can be only grateful for the support,” he said. “These conditions, super hot, super humid, and they are still coming, supporting players, supporting tennis. For every player it’s amazing, and I think we all appreciate it.”


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