The USTA Announces Enhancements To The 2017 US Open

he United States Tennis Association today announced a series of new innovations and fan experiences for the 2017 US Open.

In-Game Innovations

The 2017 US Open will include several pace-of-play and coaching innovations that will be implemented in various events outside the main draw singles and doubles events, including the Qualifying Tournament, Junior Tournament, Wheelchair Invitational, American Collegiate Invitational, and the Champions Invitational.

The in-game enhancements will include a 25-second serve clock, a five-minute clock for player warm-up, and providing players five minutes to complete an attire change during set breaks only.  Also, for the first time at these designated events, in-match coaching will be allowed between coaches and players between points.  In-match coaching will be limited to only those in the designated player box located off the court, with verbal coaching allowed while the player and coach are at the same end of the court.  Signal coaching will be permitted when the player and coach are at opposite ends of the court. The introduction of these measures will create a consistent standard in areas that have traditionally been undefined or difficult to enforce.

Additionally, electronic line calling will be added to two additional tournament courts – Courts 11 and 13.  A total of seven courts will now have electronic line calling capabilities.

Free Fan Activities

Chief among the new fan experiences, and one of the main anchors of US Open Fan Week, is the first-ever “US Open Experience,” a two-day event taking place in Manhattan’s historic Seaport District NYC. The two-day tennis festival will be held on Thursday, August 24, andFriday, August 25, from 10 am to 8 pm each day.  The event is one of the anchors of US Open Fan Week, a series of free activities for fans leading up to the 2017 US Open.  The Seaport site will be transformed into a modified version of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with visitors being treated to a full slate of events, including player appearances, autograph signings, photo opportunities, food tastings and musical performances.

For the first time, the US Open Draw Ceremony will be open to the public.  The Draw Ceremony will take place at 12 noon, Friday, August 25, and serve as the anchor event for the day’s activities at the US Open Experience at the Seaport District NYC.  The draw for the 2017 US Open will be unveiled and analyzed by ESPN personalities.  The ceremony will conclude with an appearance by defending women’s singles champion Angelique Kerber, as well as other special guests.

The grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are free and open to the public from Tuesday, August 22, through Friday, August 25.  Fans can watch the US Open Qualifying Tournament as well as the main draw players practicing as they get ready for the start of the main draw on Monday, August 28.  Two other free opportunities for fans include the free ground activities as part of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, on Saturday, August 26, as well as a free community day, the second Thursday, September 7, where the grounds of the tournament will be open to all visitors until 7 p.m.

With a tradition of delivering innovative fan experiences at the US Open, this year, American Express is introducing American Express Air Tennis. Located in the US Open American Express Fan Experience, Air Tennis utilizes a combination of custom-built technologies to create an interactive live gaming experience that allow users to feel the game in a unique way. In addition, Ace Toss – a fun and interactive photo experience that captures fans going through the entire motion of a serve from the perspective of the ball – allows Fan Experience attendees to walk away with a unique piece of content that they can share on their social channels.

20th Anniversary of Arthur Ashe Stadium

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Arthur Ashe Stadium.  This iconic Stadium, named for the great tennis star and humanitarian, has truly transformed America’s Grand Slam.  As part of the two-week celebration of this anniversary year, a newly-created Arthur Ashe Stadium logo will be painted on the court, and will remain for the two-weeks of the tournament.  A series of player testimonials on the Stadium will run throughout the tournament. This year’s theme art for the US Open, which will be prominently displayed throughout the grounds, was created by celebrated artist Peter Max, who created the original theme art  in 1997 that first featured Arthur Ashe Stadium.

US Open Grounds Improvements

The US Open is in the fourth year of a five-year transformation in which nearly 90% of the grounds at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will be completely upgraded and enhanced to improve the fan and player experience on-site.  The 2016 US Open unveiled a series of physical improvements and upgrades throughout the grounds, including a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, an 8,125-seat Grandstand stadium in the southwest corner of the site, a 500-foot-long and 40-foor-wide boulevard traversing the southern campus and enhanced and expanded southern field court seating.  2017 marks the mid-point for a two-year build cycle for the new Louis Armstrong Stadium which is rising on the same footprint of the previous stadium.  To that end, the USTA has constructed a temporary Louis Armstrong stadium adjacent to the East Gate entranceway.  This temporary stadium will hold 8,500, and will have full broadcast, electronic line calling and big screen capabilities.  The temporary stadium will serve as a one-year solution as the new Louis Armstrong Stadium is readied for the 2018 US Open.

A new showcase for Mercedes-Benz has been designed and built adjacent to the South Plaza.  The Mercedes-Benz Brand Center will occupy the ground level of this bold new two story structure and will allow the world-leader in car design and engineering to display the latest models and newest automotive technology.  The second floor of this new structure will house the popular Wine Bar Food, providing this fan favorite with expanded seating and site options for fans.

Net Generation: A new approach to Youth Tennis

The 2017 US Open will serve as the official launch of Net Generation, the USTA’s new approach to youth tennis, where for the first time, all of the Association’s programs and initiatives for young tennis players will be housed under a unified brand.  Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation will serve as the official launch of the new effort.  The stage design for the Stadium Show, and the free on-court activities prior to the Stadium show all will feature Net Generation graphics and instruction.

To create awareness for this new approach, Net Generation will be integrated into 2017 US Open in a variety of ways, from new, bold signage throughout the facilities to kids playing on the four main stadium courts each day prior to the official order of play. 

Signage will be located along the boardwalk that the majority of fans use to enter through the East Gate outside of the grounds, and along the fence line of the practice courts inside the grounds, as well as in the club level of inside of Arthur Ashe Stadium.  A Net Generation booth located between the South Plaza and the southern tournament courts will feature tennis-themed retro arcade games, big screens and other activities, and for the first time, the USTA will host three Net Generation Kidcasters, Net Generation Ambassadors, who will broadcast over the course of the tournament.

Young tennis players will have the opportunity over the first eight days of the tournament to hit on the four main courts – Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand and Court 17 – prior to the first match on each court.  Up to 16 youngsters will be selected per court each day.  Young players also will have the chance to participate in the pre-match coin toss with the chair umpire and competing players prior to matches.  Finally, the US Open will include Net Generation youngsters into the trophy Ceremonies for the first time.

This year’s US Open is scheduled for August 28 through September 10, with the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning on August 22.  ESPN is presenting the US Open for a ninth consecutive year and for the third year as the exclusive live domestic media partner, with an expected 130 hours of TV on ESPN and ESPN2, as well as more than 1,200 hours of coverage from all TV courts on ESPN3 and streaming live on the ESPN app.  Tennis Channel will deliver daily US Open preview and highlight shows, as well as encore match programming.  US Open international broadcast partners include Eurosport, WOWOW, CCTV, Tencent, Star India, beIN Sports, ESPN International, Fox Sports in Asia, TSN and SuperSport.

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