Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal revealed it felt great to be the first player to play with the roof closed Reuters

Rafael Nadal became a part of the US Open history during the Men's singles second round clash on Thursday, thanks to the grey clouds that loomed over the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.

As the Spanish superstar was playing against Italy's Andreas Seppi, the retractable roof on the centre court of the stadium closed for the first time during a match.

When the former world No.1 and Seppi were tied 3-3 in the second set of the match, tournament referee Brian Earley was forced to close the roof after a slight shower.

The roof stole the show from the two men in action as fans cheered and pulled out their mobile phones to capture the historic moment. The play was suspended for seven and a half minutes before Nadal eased through to the third round with a 6-0, 7-5, 6-1 victory over the Italian.

"It is great to be the first player to play with the roof closed, in the competition, because I was the first player to hit in the Centre Court with the roof closed," Nadal was quoted as saying by ATP World Tour official website.

"I feel that the conditions are pretty similar when the roof is closed or open," he added.

USTA, the United States Tennis Association, unveiled the roof in August, 2016 after working on it for more than three years. They had earlier deemed the idea of having a roof over the Ashe 'not feasible' but was forced to come up with a workable plan after five straight men's singles finals from 2008-12 were delayed because of rain.

The roof over the Ashe comes as a welcome addition as the French Open 2016 was marred by heavy rain in Paris. Notably, Wimbledon and Australian Open have such roofs over the main stadiums.