The U.S. Open tennis tournament will serve up some major improvement when competition begins at the end of the month. The USTA unveiled a retractable roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Arthur Ashe's widow Jeanne hit a ceremonial button closing the new retractable roof on the stadium that bears his name.

Billie Jean King, U.S. Open champion: I wish Arthur were here today, but I'm so happy happy Jeanne Ashe is with us today and could be here.
Herzenberg: How do you feel about this?
King: I think it's spectacular. It keeps making it better for the fans, and that's what you want."

"We will not pay for this on the backs of our fans. We have self-funded this 100 percent," said Gordon Smith, executive director of the USTA.

The cost of the roof is more than $100 million. The return on investment will come during foul weather. The tournament will be able to avoid rain delays on big matches, preventing loss of advertising revenue with finals no longer being put off until Monday.

"It's more about our fans and inconveniencing our fans," Smith said. "But when I took this job eight years ago, we had five straight men's finals rained out. It will never happen again."

"Anybody who has a ticket on Arthur Ashe Stadium will know that they will see their matches. They won't get rained out," said Katrina Adams, president of the USTA.

The mechanics: two 1,000,000-pound panels travel at 25 mph and meet in the middle, closing a space bigger than a football field.

The project was more than a decade in the making. The biggest challenge for Hunt Construction was keeping all the cranes on the outside.

"And lifting everything from the outside in, which we've never done before and probably never done before anywhere," said Kenneth Johnson, executive vice president of Hunt Construction.

It's the biggest tennis stadium in the world, and now, many of the 23,700 seats will get some shade, whether the roof is open or closed.

The improvements are part of a $600 million overhaul to the US open. The estimated 700,000 people that attend each year for the two weeks of tennis will find a third more seats in a new grandstand stadium and an expanded and enhanced southern campus.

The next project is tearing down Louis Armstrong Stadium after this year's Open. Its replacement will seat 14,000 people and have a retractable roof as well.