A general view of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium during...

A general view of the new Louis Armstrong Stadium during an exhibition match after the dedication ceremony at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 22, 2018. Credit: Getty Images/Steven Ryan

When the roof of the Louis Armstrong Stadium opened on Wednesday at the ceremony dedicating the U.S. Open’s newest arena, the sun’s rays matched the sunny dispositions of those whose efforts produced the sparkling structure.

“It accomplished the goals we started out with in 2011 to enhance the experience for the players and the fans and to ensure that the matches can be played and finished on time on a Sunday after five years in a row of men’s finals being played on a Monday,” said Danny Zausner, CEO of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. “All the extra space we’ve got, all the shade. I think we checked all the boxes and I’m very eager to see the fans’ reaction and the players’ reaction.”

The stadium completes a five-year, $600 million total transformation of the tennis center, and brings into play a second roofed stadium that pretty much assures that the Open will never again finish on a Monday.

And maybe the best thing is that of the 14,000 seats, more than half will be general admission seating. There will be for the first time a dedicated, separately ticketed night session running from the tournament’s opening beginning Monday through Sept. 1. Feature matches will be played on Armstrong through Sept. 4.

Plans for the tennis center’s transformation were announced in 2013. The new west stadium courts and seated practice area were opened in 2014. The support system for the Arthur Ashe roof was in place by 2015 followed by the roof itself in 2016 along with the new Grandstand and the total rebuild of the south campus courts. In 2017 the construction of Armstrong was underway with a temporary replacement stadium built on adjoining property. There was nary a hiccup.

At the dedication, four-time Open champ and New Yorker John McEnroe, who has never hesitated to be critical of the tennis establishment, was full of praise. “For years I kept calling for stadium with a roof on it,” said McEnroe. “Now we have two, and this place is magnificent. The players are going to be super excited about this new stadium.”

With the new roofed stadium, the scheduling on Ashe Stadium could now be altered to alleviate the cattle-pen crowding when day matches intruded on the 7 o’clock start of the night session. There will now be only two matches scheduled on Ashe during the day with a noon start. “It’s two matches, we wrap up, then we start on time,” said tournament director David Brewer.

As for who will be playing in Armstrong, Brewer said that there haven’t been any determinations, and that the top names -- Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal -- could be scheduled there.

“We’ve not precluded any players not coming here,” said Brewer. “Part of that is driven by who progresses, when and where. Nobody is off the list to be considered to play here. Now that we have another stadium that has 14,000 seats, we can program much more strongly than we were able to do in the old stadium.”

The new Armstrong has two levels, with significant gap between the tiers opening to the outside that allows for natural ventilation. There is a wraparound concourse that accommodates a significant amount of spectators who can stand, or sit at one of the food outlets, and that will become a significant destination during a rain storm. Between Ashe and Armstrong, nearly 40,000 fans can be watching when it’s raining.

There were plenty of memories generated over the five decades of play in the old Armstrong Stadium, but the grand old arena had long outlived its usefulness.

“The old stadium is a magical place to play tennis on, and the history that was made on this court,” said Zausner. “We all know that what was going on around the stadium was less than ideal. It was a 50-year-old structure and we did the best we could with it.”

For Zausner, the new arena is the proper forum for the Open’s vibe and the completion of the USTA’s dreams.

“Now this will actually match the magic that’s on the court,” he said.

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