SBD/September 4, 2013/Events and Attractions

U.S. Open Irks Fans By Moving Federer Match From Arthur Ashe To Louis Armstrong

A four-hour rain delay moved Federer's match to Louis Armstrong Stadium
Monday's U.S. Open fourth-round match between Roger Federer and Tommy Robredo was relocated to Louis Armstrong Stadium from Arthur Ashe Stadium following a four-hour rain delay, and the move "particularly irked fans," according to Stu Woo of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Louis Armstrong Stadium "holds 10,103 spectators, less than half of that of Ashe." Fans with tickets for Arthur Ashe Stadium "had to fight for unassigned seating with fans with cheaper tickets for Armstrong." That meant "not everyone in the line going to see Federer Monday" got in. Under the tournament’s normal inclement-weather policy, the event "would not offer ticket exchanges or credit" because one match was completed at Arthur Ashe Stadium. But USTA Dir of Corporate Communications Chris Widmaier said that the tournament officials would allow fans to exchange Monday tickets for one session next year "as a courtesy to our fans who came today" (WSJ.com, 9/2).

LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP: TENNIS.com's Steve Tignor wrote Louis Armstrong Stadium for "any longtime American tennis fan" is "our imperfect place." The seats are "cramped, the wind swirls inside, and there are no architectural or decorative touches to please the eye." The entrances that "let fans up from below are narrow by today’s standards," and "once you are inside, it’s not easy to find a place to sit down; the concrete pathways are cramped." Most "agree that tearing down the Open's intimate third stadium, the Grandstand, would be a tragedy, or at least an unfortunate by-product of the tournament's modernization plan." The USTA once had Louis Armstrong Stadium "slated for demolition as well, but more recently it has been granted a reprieve." Yet the stadium has "a strange appeal, one that makes me wonder if memories and nostalgia don’t ultimately trump all questions of aesthetics and taste" (TENNIS.com, 9/2) In N.Y., Michael Kimmelman noted the USTA has City Council approval to demolish the Grandstand and build a new one "on the other end of the center’s grounds, as part of a master plan to improve circulation and add retractable roofs to Armstrong and Arthur Ashe Stadiums." Plans call for the Grandstand to be torn down after the '14 U.S. Open, with the "new version done in time" for the '15 tournament and the "entire project finished" by '18. The Grandstand is "the most intimate and exciting place to watch tennis at the Open, beloved by players and fans." Kimmelman: "No place on the grounds embodies better the Open's gritty nature than the Grandstand" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/2).

DOES TOURNEY STILL REGISTER? SportsNet N.Y.'s "Daily News Live" panel yesterday examined the state of the tennis in the U.S. and whether American fans care about the U.S. Open. The N.Y. Daily News' Bruce Murray said there are "still tennis fans out there," but he noted there is "nobody on the horizon right now" among young American male players to galvanize fans. The N.Y. Daily News' Bob Raissman said, "It tells you something when the biggest story of the U.S. Open was the little … teenager with the high voice (Victoria Duval). Once she was eliminated it was over for me." The N.Y. Daily News' Bill Madden said Serena Williams is the "one appealing American player out there." Madden: "Otherwise, it's Serena and a lot of women with 'ova' the end of their names." Murray said, "With all due respect to Venus Williams and Serena Williams, tennis is driven by what goes on in the men's side and there's just nobody there competing for the U.S." ("Daily News Live," SNY, 9/3).
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