World-class tennis deserves a world-class venue, and as fans prepare to file in from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park into the East and South gates for the start of the 2014 US Open, they certainly will experience something grand.
In the first phase of a five-year transformation of the US Open grounds, new elevated seating has been constructed around the practice courts and tournament courts 4, 5, and 6 to create a unique three-court viewing experience for fans. For the first time, fans will be able to watch competitive action on three tournament courts simultaneously and will have enhanced, unobstructed views of the player practice courts. The elevated viewing area will hold more than 1,300 fans, and fan amenities will be available on the ground level.
Previously, the practice courts were open for viewing only on one side.
“Over the last several years, at tour-level events in particular, we’ve seen the rise in larger, much more open practice court areas and the players adapted to that very quickly. So they’re accustomed to [the added attention],” said US Open Tournament Director David Brewer. “We think that the new practice court area at the National Tennis Center this year is going to be very well received. It’s going to be the kind of experience where the fans can roam around, going from court to court and watch many their favorites at once.”
Additionally, Court 5 now will be the US Open’s seventh television court, featuring two video screens and electronic line calling.
The completion of this area marks the first phase in a series of on-site improvements that eventually will include two new stadiums replacing the current Louis Armstrong Stadium and Grandstand – the Grandstand will be relocated from the northeast to the southwest corner of the grounds – a retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium and a southern expansion of the existing campus that will ease crowding and provide additional fan amenities. Below the surface, underground work for the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof has begun.
The USTA is targeting completion of this transformation by 2018. On average, between 200 and 300 design team members and construction workers will take to the National Tennis Center each year. To highlight these changes for fans in attendance, the USTA has created a new on-site gallery located on the outside of Arthur Ashe Stadium – US Open of Tomorrow – that showcases the future transformation with models and videos of the new structures and plans.
“We’re creating an experiential look and touch point feel to what the National Tennis Center will look like from now to the very end of the project,” said Daniel Zausner, Chief Operating Officer of the National Tennis Center. “You’re probably looking at this exhibit for the next two years. After that point, fans will be able to see with their own eyes the roof when they attend the 2016 Open.”
For 2014 US Open: Three new courts – Nos. 4, 5 and 6 – plus five new practice courts built in the northwest area of the grounds, along with a 30-foot, two-story viewing gallery for fans.
For 2015 US Open: Parts of the south campus expanded to alleviate traffic on the grounds. These widened walkways will eventually connect Court 17 to the new Grandstand.
For 2016 US Open: A roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium complete and operational; new Grandstand stadium debuts; 10 rebuilt field courts; further remodeling of the south campus.
For 2018 US Open: New Louis Armstrong Stadium debuts.