As Metro's yellow line sweeps beneath Potomac Park on its relentless march toward the Pentagon Crystal City and debated points beyond, it is sending a chill through part of Washington's tennis-playing community.

The indoor season at the East Potomac Park tennis courts, slated to commence last Saturday, has been postponed and players have been unable to come in from the cold because one end of the courts, situated above a 60-foot-wide Metro construction tunnel, has sunk 15 to 20 inches from its original level.

Metro says the affected area will be resurfaced by Perini. Horn, Morrison and Knudsen, the private contractors who have been building that segment of the yellow line. The work had been held up, according to Metro spokeswoman Marilyn McGinty, by a dispute between Perini, Horne, Morrison and Knudsen and the firm's insurance company, but the contractors have now agreed to perform the repairs first and resolve the dispute later.

"I am hoping if they get into it this week, between 2 and 2 1/2 weeks from now, it should be ready," said Ralph Lorenzo of Government Services, Inc. (GSI), the private firm that operates the courts at East Potomac Park, Pierce Mill Park Road and the Carter Baron Amphitheater.

"The patrons have been very patient," said Lorenzo, adding that GSI will refund money paid in advance for winter court time.

Loy Smith, who has contracted with GSI for the right to offer instruction on its courts will be open by Nov. 5, when he intends to begin his winter program.

"I derive my whole source of income from tennis," said Smith. The courts opened a week late last year, he recalled, and "people get disenchanted."