The US Open’s revamped $150m Louis Armstrong Stadium opened to mixed reviews on its first day, with some players complaining that elements of the new structure have proved distracting.
“Obviously playing on a court that’s very loud, there’s a lot going on. I think it makes it a little tough to kind of settle down,” said American player Sloane Stephens. “There was a lot going on between the airplanes and the subway behind the court, the concessions being in the lower bowl, and people walking in the games at 2-all, 3-all.”
Apart from the noise caused by people ordering food and chatting in the lower-bowl concessions area, there was chaos when a large group of fans descended one of the staircases after Simona Halep’s match as another group of fans tried to ascend it for Andy Murray’s subsequent encounter.
Danny Zausner, the Billie King National Tennis Center chief operations officer who spoke to SportBusiness in detail about the Armstrong reconstruction, has vowed to take action and will consider limiting access to the ring around the concourse level to fans with reserved tickets.
“This is all trial by fury,” Zausner told the New York Times. “We’re learning people’s traffic patterns and changing things to accommodate them. We don’t want to wait until next year. We want to fix things now.”
Players’ reactions were not all negative, however. Murray said the venue is “a bit easier to play on than the old Armstrong” as it is “more sheltered from the wind” while Halep described the stadium as “beautiful”.