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USTA lifts lid on new Louis Armstrong Stadium

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has said the completion of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium will distinguish the grounds for the US Open grand slam tournament in a whole new way when the facility opens in time for this year’s event.

The development of the stadium, the second largest venue at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, brings to a close a five-year transformation of the site that has cost $600m (£444.2m/€507.9m) to undertake.

In total, around 85 per cent of the grounds have been enhanced, notably by the addition of a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium and a new 8,125-seat Grandstand Stadium.

The new Louis Armstrong Stadium features 14,000 seats, almost 40 per cent more than the 10,200 capacity of the previous facility. A total of 7,400 seats in the upper bowl will be general admission, with the other 6,600 seats in the lower bowl reserved for Louis Armstrong Stadium ticket holders.

The stadium will also join Arthur Ashe Stadium in featuring a retractable roof, in addition to natural ventilation that encourages air flow throughout the entire stadium. Through its design, which has been led by architectural firm Rossetti, it will be the first naturally ventilated tennis stadium with a retractable roof in the world.

The current status of the stadium was detailed at a media day yesterday (Thursday), with this year’s US Open due to commence on August 27.

“It’s 95 per cent structurally complete,” USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center chief operating officer Danny Zausner said, according to the USA Today newspaper. “We’ve got 10 weeks and we are going to use every day of the next 10 weeks to ensure that the 2018 US Open is a great experience.”

The stadium was developed on roughly the same footprint of the former Louis Armstrong and Grandstand courts. The old Louis Armstrong Stadium was demolished shortly after the 2016 US Open was staged.

“We started really strong with the transformation with the Ashe roof and the Grandstand and the south campus,” Zausner added. “Now we’re ending strong. They’ve been bookend projects, and they’ll distinguish the site in a whole new way.”

Image: Rossetti