SBD/August 30, 2011/Facilities

USTA Debuts New Court In Flushing Meadows On First Day Of U.S. Open

Court 17 holds 2,500 fans now, but will expand to hold more than 3,000
The USTA yesterday debuted Court 17 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on the first day of the U.S. Open, welcoming a "quieter, gentler but still substantive new show court that has the makings for some great days and nights of tennis," according to Douglas Robson of USA TODAY. Richard Gasquet won the first match played on the new court and said, "It's good for the U.S. Open to have a new court like that. It's a good choice." For now, Court 17 seats 2,500 spectators, but will eventually "hold more than 3,000 when temporary metal bleachers surrounding the central sunken area are replaced by permanent ones in 2012." That will make it the tournament's "fourth-largest court." U.S. Open Managing Dir of Facility Operations Daniel Zausner said that Court 17 is "an 'intimate court' that will have even better sightlines next year with added seating." Zausner added that "officials homed in on the corner adjacent to the hospitality zone because it attracted less foot traffic in what is billed as the largest sporting event in the world." USTA officials said that a roof on Court 17 "never entered into the conversation since it's small and not centrally situated" (USA TODAY, 8/30).

GONE WITH THE WIND: Because of Hurricane Irene, banners of "past Open champions were not yet hung for the tournament's opening day." In addition, Louis Armstrong Stadium's "south scoreboard was dark" (NEWSDAY, 8/29).
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