Johnny Mac says yes.
Updated: September 12, 2009, 1:10 AM ET
McEnroe: Erect a roof over Arthur Ashe
NEW YORK -- John McEnroe said the U.S. Tennis Association can't be serious about going much longer without a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Friday's unrelenting rain drowned any hope of seeing a racket raised in competition on Day 12 at the National Tennis Center, sending the final weekend of the hardcourt major into chaos for a second year in a row.
"Certainly today is a damn shame," four-time Open champion and TV announcer John McEnroe said in a telephone interview as he was leaving the complex after the lost day at Flushing Meadows.
The resumption of Rafael Nadal's quarterfinal against Fernando Gonzalez was washed away as were both of the women's semifinals.
Foul weather and the Open's unique scheduling for the final weekend leave no margin for error, and forced a Monday men's title tilt for the second year running.
McEnroe, 50, said he had lobbied U.S. Tennis Association officials from the start to put a roof over massive Arthur Ashe Stadium when it was built to replace Louis Armstrong Stadium in 1997 as the tournament's main stage.
"It seemed like a no-brainer but people at the USTA decided they wanted to build the biggest [stadium]," McEnroe said about the 23,000-seat Ashe building.
"But at the same price they could've had a slightly smaller stadium and had a roof."
Officials spoke last year about studies it had done to add a $100 million retractable roof but no plan to move forward has been announced. The Australian Open and Wimbledon employ roofs, and the French Open has plans for one in the near future.
"My idea was for utilizing it not only when it rains but to allow for stadium use year round, and for other things, like have some kind of tennis academy and have kids stay there.
"You could have people living in those [corporate] boxes, for example. Seemed like a great thing.
"Or have rock concerts and other things there to get more income generated for the kids."
McEnroe knew the arguments against but was not swayed.
"I know they say it doesn't rain as much here in New York as it does in London, for example," he said.
"But now they're in a big hole, because they have the biggest [tennis] stadium in the world and the expense to build it [roof] is so big that they don't want to lay it out."
Weather has fouled up recent match scheduling.
In 2006, a total of six sessions were washed out including two full days of play. Last year, Roger Federer waited until Monday to claim his fifth successive Open crown and the women played their final on Sunday.