U.S. Open spectators this week donned sunglasses and ball caps to keep the sun's glare and heat at bay, but another seemingly out-of-place accessory was commonplace courtside at the Flushing Meadows complex.

Tennis fans were using umbrellas -- of every color and pattern -- Thursday, though there was no threat of rain.

"I can't take the sun," said Ivy Baird, of Brooklyn, who sat in the bleachers with a red umbrella over her head.

At a neighboring court at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center, Ronald Shaw, of Bergen County, N.J., spoke from under a beat-up black umbrella.

"It depends on how sensitive you are to heat," Shaw said of those who might need an umbrella of their own. "Some people really relish the sun."

Shaw said umbrellas are effective at shading people and gestured to the court, where ball attendants held sturdy navy-blue umbrellas over seated tennis players to cool them during a break from play.

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"It works. That's why they have it for players," he said.

Mia Kim, 35, of Brooklyn, carried not an umbrella but a delicate green parasol made of tissue-thin paper.

She said she may be bringing one of her five parasols with her every time she visits the Open this year.

"It's effective because it blocks the sun, but I also like it because it's pretty," she said.

Whether they're pretty or practical, Baird, who wore a visor in addition to her umbrella, said using an umbrella in the sun could potentially be good for your health.


"I would rather be protected," she said. "It's prevention of cancer, from being overexposed to the sun."