Noise no problem for sound Murray
NEW YORK — When heavy rain began pelting the closed roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium, Andy Murray couldn’t pick up the usual sounds of a tennis match.
Most importantly, he said, the thwack of a ball coming off his opponent’s racket — or his own, for that matter — was completely indiscernible during a 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 second-round victory over Marcel Granollers Thursday at the U.S. Open.
As it is, the $150 million retractable cover making its tournament debut this week makes the main stadium louder because the structure, even when open, traps the sounds of spectators chatting in the stands. When it’s shut, the roof amplifies all of that ambient noise.
And when the drops came down early in Murray’s second set — well, it was as loud as can be.
“You can’t hear anything,” the 2012 U.S. Open champion said. “We use our ears when we play; it’s not just the eyes. (The sound) helps us pick up the speed of the ball, the spin that’s on the ball, how hard someone’s hitting it.
“If we played with headphones on, it would be a big advantage if your opponent wasn’t wearing them. You can still do it, but it’s harder for sure.”
At least Murray, Granollers and some others were able to play. Rain has often been a schedule wrecker at the U.S. Open — the men’s final was postponed every year from 2008-12. Thursday’s wet weather limited action around the grounds until early evening.
Winners included Venus Williams, who beat Julia Goerges 6-2, 6-3, and No. 5 Simona Halep, who eliminated Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-4 in a meeting between past French Open finalists that was the first contest played entirely with the roof closed.
No. 1 seed Serena Williams, seeking a recordbreaking 23rd Slam title, beat Vania King 6-3. 6-3.
Men advancing included No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 8 Dominic Thiem.
Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 champion, beat 19th-seeded Steve Johnson 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-2 in an evening match.
Second-seeded Andy Murray reaches for a forehand in his straight-sets victory over Marcel Granollers on Thursday.