Arthur Ashe Stadium
|Location||USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing, Queens, New York|
|Construction cost||$ 254 million
($376 million in 2016 dollars)
Arthur Ashe Stadium is a tennis stadium located in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, United States of America. Part of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center located within Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, it is the largest tennis-specific stadium in the world by capacity, with a capacity of 23,771. Arthur Ashe Stadium is the main stadium of the US Open tennis tournament, the fourth and final Grand Slam tennis tournament of the calendar year. The stadium is named after Arthur Ashe, who, in 1968, won the inaugural US Open in which professionals could compete.
Opening in 1997, Arthur Ashe Stadium replaced Louis Armstrong Stadium as the primary venue for the tournament. The Stadium, which cost $254 million to construct, features 22,547 individual seats, 90 luxury suites, five restaurants and a two-level players' lounge, making it by far the largest outdoor tennis-only venue in the world. The Stadium, like the other 32 courts in the facility, has a DecoTurf cushioned acrylic surface. Due to its location near Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets, all these stadiums share the Mets–Willets Point stop on the New York City Subway's IRT Flushing Line (7 <7> trains).
On August 25, 1997, the stadium was first used during the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, when singer Whitney Houston performed her hit song "One Moment in Time". The performance was for the stadium's inauguration ceremonies. Houston dedicated the performance to Ashe and to the opening of the new stadium named after him.
On July 19, 2008, Arthur Ashe Stadium hosted the first ever regular season WNBA game to be played outdoors when the WNBA Indiana Fever beat the host New York Liberty, 71–55. The game served as a fundraising event for breast cancer research.
Arthur Ashe Stadium is equipped with the Hawk-Eye electronic system which allows tennis players to challenge the umpire's decision on calls made throughout championships. In 2005, the color scheme for the courts was changed from green to electric blue inner courts and a light green outer court. All US Open Series events now use this color scheme. The change in court colors was to aid television viewers in tracking the ball since blue contrasts against the yellow tennis balls better.
The stadium's lack of a retractable roof for inclement weather has been a subject of criticism. Rain delays during the US Open have frequently occurred, with the men's singles final being pushed back a day for five consecutive years from 2008 to 2012. Furthermore, the lack of a roof can result in relatively strong and unpredictable winds inside the stadium. Although no provision for the addition of a roof was included in the facility's original design, in 2013 the USTA announced plans to construct a roof over the stadium using a 5,000-short-ton (4,500,000 kg) superstructure.
The new roof was designed by Rossetti Architects and comprises 210,000 square feet (20,000 m2) of PTFE membrane provided by Birdair. The structure and mechanization of the retractable roof were designed by Geiger Engineers. The roof, which will cost $100 million, is part of a $550 million renovation of the National Tennis Center and is expected to be completed by the 2016 tournament.
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