The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is an American stadium complex located in the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York City, which has been the home of the US Open Grand Slam tennis tournament played every year in August and September since 1978. It is operated by the United States Tennis Association (USTA). The facility has 22 courts inside its 46.5 acres (0.188 km2; 0.0727 sq mi) and 11 in the adjoining park. The complex's three stadiums are among the largest tennis stadiums in the world, with Arthur Ashe Stadium topping the global list with a listed capacity of 23,200. All 33 courts have used the DecoTurf cushioned acrylic surface since the facility was built in 1978.
Located near Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, the tennis center is open to the public for play 11 months out of the year (closed during inclement weather and in August/September due to the US Open), barring tournaments the USTA holds (such as junior and wood-racquet competitions).
The idea of the tennis center came about in January 1977, when William Hester, the then-incoming president of the USTA, saw the underused Singer Bowl on a flight into nearby LaGuardia Airport. He asked the City of New York to let him use the stadium and adjoining land for a tennis facility to host the U.S. Open. The stadium was heavily renovated and divided into two venues: Louis Armstrong Stadium and the adjoining grandstand. The National Tennis Center opened in August 1978.
After rumors of a possible move to San Diego, a major upgrade and expansion began in March 1995. More land was committed to the USTA National Tennis Center, and in August 1997 the newly built Arthur Ashe Stadium replaced Louis Armstrong Stadium as the main court. The four-year expansion was completed in 1999. Arthur Ashe Stadium holds more than 22,000 spectators while Louis Armstrong Stadium was downsized to hold just 10,000 spectators (the original size was 18,000). In 2006, at the location of the old indoor tennis building near the East Gate, work began on a 245,000-square-foot, multi-purpose tennis pavilion. The new facility was completed in 2008 and includes 12 courts, classrooms, fitness facilities, and a pro shop. It also includes a hospitality center, museum, and food commissary. Other renovations included the players' lounge, locker rooms, and medical, training and office space.
In 2011, the facility opened a new show court, Court 17, located in the southeast corner of the grounds, seating 2,500 to 3,000, making it small in comparison to the facility's other show courts. Next in size after those courts -- Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the Grandstand (the latter with a capacity of 8,125) -- the court has large television screens and Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling capability which allows for player challenges. In constructing the new court, foundations from the 1939 and 1964 World's Fair were discovered, and the water table was found to be several feet higher than expected. Because the playing surface of Court 17 is below ground level, the new court has received the nickname of "The Pit".
As part of a campus-wide renovation, a new show court was added in the southwest corner of the complex - the new Grandstand. This 8,125 seat stadium, which opened in 2016, is the third largest stadium in the center, and replaces the Old Grandstand, which will be torn down when Louis Armstrong Stadium is replaced in 2018.
The center is in the middle of a $550 million renovation in that includes a retractable roof constructed on Arthur Ashe Stadium and a new, 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium (also with a retractable roof) in which to be built.
In July 2008, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and Arthur Ashe Stadium hosted its first ever non-tennis event, when the New York Liberty of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) played in the "Liberty Outdoor Classic: 2008". The game itself was a historic event as it was the first ever professional basketball regular season game ever played outdoors in the USA, by either men or women. The contest featured the Indiana Fever defeating the New York Liberty.
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is the site of the annual New York State High School tennis championships, held in May. This tournament is sponsored by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA).
West Side Tennis Club
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