9. USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (1978-present)

1967 at the Singer Bowl. a former U.S. Open Tennis Tournament location
1967 at the Singer Bowl. Courtesy of NYC Parks Archive

In 1978, the U.S. Open moved to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, where it has been ever since. King won the U.S. Open singles in 1967, 1971, 1972, and 1974, as well as women’s doubles five times and mixed doubles four times. All five U.S. Open events have been played here each year, including at Louis Armstrong Stadium, named for the jazz musician whose house museum is nearby in Corona, Queens. The Louis Armstrong Stadium was the primary venue of the U.S. Open until the construction of Arthur Ashe Stadium in 1997. The Louis Armstrong Stadium was demolished and rebuilt in 2016, though the original stadium was a remnant of the 1964-65 World’s Fair: the Singer Bowl. The Singer Bowl was constructed by the Singer Sewing Company with a capacity of 18,000 people and has hosted the U.S. Olympic trials and folk festivals. Later on, the Singer Bowl hosted The Doors, The Who, and Jimi Hendrix, while the Mets put on a fireworks display at the stadium to celebrate the 1969 World Series win.

The President of the USTA, W. E. “Slew” Hester, flew to LaGuardia Airport in January 1977 and saw an abandoned Singer Bowl, which was closed in 1974 after it fell into disrepair. Slew wanted to renovate the stadium in exchange for a 21.6-acre lease of the park. The whole new tennis center was built quickly, though corners were cut in reconstructing the Singer Bowl, including maintenance issues from steep seating. In 1997, the top deck of the Louis Armstrong was removed to make way for the Arthur Ashe Stadium, cutting Armstrong’s capacity in half. In 2017, a new Grandstand was opened and the Louis Armstrong Stadium was completely rebuilt, sitting 15,000 with a retractable roof. All 33 courts had used DecoTurf until 2020 when USTA announced they would be switched to Laykold. Arthur Ashe Stadium today can seat over 23,000 people, making it the largest Grand Slam tennis stadium by capacity.

Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships!