The USTA announced a new vision for the Billie Jean King Tennis Center that will transform the venue and give fans what they have wanted for years at a press conference at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Thursday.
The first long-awaited change will be the addition of a roof to Arthur Ashe Stadium with the hope of keeping the tournament on schedule. The main issue recently with the U.S. Open has been that the Sunday afternoon Men’s final has been postponed to Monday the past five years due to rain delays over the course of the tournament.
The retractable roof will be completed by 2018, but that is just one of many parts of a the USTA’s Strategic Vision for the NTC. This is a $500 million project funded by the USTA that will allow it to be “tranformed according to an overall strategic vision which ensures it will remain a world-class venue hosting a world-class event.
Louis Armstrong Stadium, which was the main venue there until Ashe Stadium was built in the 1990s, will be replaced with a 15,000-seat, roof-ready stadium.
To accommodate a bigger Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand will be moved to the southwest corner of the property with an 8,000-seat venue. This is much like the new Court 17, which has a sunken court surface, with a new “food village” constructed next to it.
With the Grandstand moving south, the footprint of the National Tennis Center will be moved 30 feet in that direction. That will allow them to move the seven tournament courts in that section to be relocated more and allow room for an expansive boulevard for fans to pass through.
Currently, fans watch players practice in the northwest section, but that will be dramatically improved as three tournament courts and five practice courts will be constructed with an elevated viewing platform.