WHITE PLAINS, August 17, 2018 (Press Release)
The USTA announced that the 2018 US Open will be a three-week-long celebration of the tournament’s 50th anniversary, with a number of new fan events and activities scheduled around New York and Queens during the week anchored by the US Open Qualifying tournament, followed by the main draw of the US Open anchored by the completion of the $600 million transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the US Open, and over the course of Fan Week and the two weeks of main draw competition of the US Open, the USTA will celebrate the history of the event and look toward the future of the tournament in a number of ways.
US Open Champions
The USTA will celebrate all 50 former US Open champions (27 men and 23 women) throughout Fan Week and the US Open. Champions will be recognized on-court, during special legends matches during Fan Week, as well as in the multimedia 50 for 50 series published on USOpen.org, and in the specially produced US OPEN: 50 Years of Championship Tennis, a vibrantly illustrated book published by Abrams Books.
Arthur Ashe Tribute
The US Open will celebrate the legacy of Arthur Ashe over the course of the 50th anniversary tournament. A special photo exhibit, featuring 6-foot enlargements of never-before published photos of Ashe by renowned photographer John Zimmerman will line the walkway that connects Court 17 and the Grandstand. Also, fans will be treated to a virtual reality experience (located in the Chase Center just inside the East Gate) specially created by noted documentarian Rex Miller. The ’68 Experience will transport fans to 1968 for a front row seat to Ashe’s triumph in capturing the US Open’s first men’s singles title. In addition, the US Open, along with the US Military Academy at West Point, will honor Ashe and his service to his country (Ashe was a lieutenant in the Army when he won the first US Open men’s singles championship as an amateur in 1968) on Military Appreciation Day, Monday, September 3. Finally, a newly-created logo for Arthur Ashe Stadium itself will be unveiled on the south side of the stadium on Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, August 25.
New US Open Visual Identity
The USTA has been exploring creative ways to update the visual identity of the US Open and move the tournament forward for the next 50 years. In addition to a new logo for Arthur Ashe Stadium, the USTA worked with noted design firm Chermayoff, Geismar & Haviv to create a new US Open logo in time for the 50th anniversary. The sleeker, more contemporary logo better captures the energy and excitement of America’s Grand Slam. Using innovative designs and fabrications created by Michael Graves Architecture and Design, the USTA also will introduce new streamlined and visually arresting court furniture on the four stadium courts at the US Open. A new chair umpire stand, new player seating and new on-court storage units all were designed with a consistent visual theme to upgrade the on-court presentation. The player entrance and in-stadium player areas have also been completely redesigned and will include a new arrival area for players, an outdoor player warm-up area, and a player-only café, all featuring a bold new design.
Strategic Transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and New Louis Armstrong Stadium
The 50th anniversary of the US Open also marks the completion of the USTA’s five-year $600 million transformation of the National Tennis Center. Since the start of the transformation, more than 90 percent of the grounds have been transformed and upgraded, and the completed new Louis Armstrong Stadium joins the previous transition milestones of a new Grandstand Stadium, a roof superstructure over Arthur Ashe Stadium, a complete rebuild of the West Stadium Courts and Practice Pavilion and a redesign and rebuild of the South Campus and tournament courts, all designed to create the most spectacular tennis facility in the world. Louis Armstrong Stadium is a 14,000-seat, naturally-ventilated structure with a retractable roof, designed to considerably upgrade the player and fan experience.
US Open Opening Night Ceremony
The Opening Night Ceremony of the 2018 US Open will honor past champions and feature some of the biggest names in music. USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams will be joined on the court by the two finalists from the 1968 women’s singles championship, Virginia Wade and Billie Jean King, as well as other past champions to celebrate the impact the US Open has had on the sport of tennis. Music megastar Kelly Clarkson will then headline a musical set, and Clarkson will be followed by noted performer Maxwell who will sing the national anthem before the evening’s matches.
50th Anniversary Booth
The US Open 50th anniversary also will be commemorated on-site with a fan-friendly attraction that builds on the US Open’s “Built for Glory” advertising campaign. The interactive booth will provide an opportunity for fans to voice their own play-by-play commentary of historic matches that they can then share on their social media channels. The booth also will contain the US Open Bookstore where fans in attendance will be able to purchase the commemorative book, US Open: 50 Years of Championship Tennis.
US Open Fan Week
The week prior to the start of the main draw of the US Open has traditionally been anchored by the US Open Qualifying Tournament. This tournament, which in itself offers more than $3 million in prize money, is staged from Tuesday, August 21 through Friday, August 26, and features 128 men and 128 women competing to earn the final 16 spots in the men’s and women’s singles main draws of the US Open. The USTA has actively expanded programming opportunities around US Open Qualifying to provide fans with ever more ways to access the sport and experience the excitement of the US Open. All events of Fan Week are free and open to the public.
This year, Fan Week events will include:
New Louis Armstrong Stadium Dedication Ceremony
On Wednesday, August 22, the USTA will officially open the new Louis Armstrong Stadium with a dedication ceremony on “Queens Day” at the US Open. The ceremony will feature USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams, who will be joined by four-time US Open champion and Queens native John McEnroe and will include a special performance by legendary jazz great Wynton Marsalis. Following the dedication ceremony, McEnroe will be joined by his brother Patrick, James Blake, and Michael Chang for the honorary first match to be played in the new stadium. Qualifying matches are planned to be staged all day and into the evening Thursday in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Legends Matches and Player Exhibitions
A number of Legends matches have been scheduled for Fan Week, both at NTC and at the US Open Experience at Brookfield Place in Manhattan. In addition to the Wednesday match in Louis Armstrong Stadium, on Thursday, August 24, former ATP stars Robby Ginepri, Justin Gimelstob, Luke Jensen, and Taylor Dent will put on a doubles exhibition on the full-size court that is part of the US Open Experience. On Friday, in the Grandstand, former US Open Champions Lindsay Davenport and Martina Navratilova will be joined by Michael Chang and Jan-Michael Gambill in a doubles match. Finally, the slate of activity on Sunday, August 26, will include present-day players including Mike and Bob Bryan, Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares and Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova providing fans an inside look at the world’s top doubles players, followed by the final Legends match featuring Davenport, Navratilova, Tracy Austin and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.
For 2018, the USTA will promote US Open player practices throughout Fan Week. The practice schedule will be included in all US Open communications, and throughout the US Open digital properties, mobile apps, and social media platforms. The practice courts will be hosted by US Open stadium personalities and will utilize video boards and DJs when appropriate.
US Open in Space powered by Net Generation #TminusNetGeneration
On Tuesday, August 21, at 8:00 p.m., the US Open will celebrate the “global” nature of the sport with the help of NASA astronaut Andrew Feustel. The iconic World’s Fair Unisphere in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, will serve as the literal backdrop for the first-ever tennis match in space. Feustel, ISS Commander of Expedition 56, will take part in the competition with fellow crewmates Ricky Arnold, NASA Flight Engineer, Alexander Gerst, European Space Agency Flight Engineer; and Serena Aunon-Chancellor, NASA Flight Engineer. Prior to the space tennis event, Commander Feustel will receive tennis tips from 2009 US Open men’s champion Juan-Martin DelPotro in a video chat which fans can watch live via US Open’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. The match will be a 3D projection mapped on the Unisphere, giving fans the chance to watch tennis in an “out-of-this-world” way.Fans can watch the gravity-defying action unfold live from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the US Open’s Facebook page, USOpen.org, YouTube and @usopen on Twitter’s Periscope.
US Open Experience at Brookfield Place
For the second consecutive year, the USTA will recreate the energy and excitement of the US Open in lower Manhattan, this year at Brookfield Place just off West Street. US Open partners American Express, Evian, Heineken and JP Morgan Chase all will provide unique interactive elements to the footprint. Player appearances, food offerings, photo opportunities, and live music will combine with a full-sized tennis court in this one-of-a-kind tennis experience. The two-day festival runs from Wednesday, August 22 through Thursday, August 23. Hours are 10 am to 8 pm each day.
US Open Draw Ceremony
For the second year, the USTA will make the US Open Draw Ceremony a free public event as part of the US Open Experience. The Draw Ceremony will be conducted at 2 pm on Thursday, August 23. Defending US Open singles champions Sloane Stephens and Rafael Nadal are expected to make appearances at the conclusion of the ceremony. Fans can watch live on usopen.org, the US Open’s Facebook page, YouTube and @usopen on Twitter’s Periscope.
US Open Media Day
For the first time, the USTA will allow the public to view US Open Media Day during Fan Week activities. The Media Day will be held in Louis Armstrong Stadium on Friday, August 24 from 11 am to 1 pm. Defending women’s singles champion Sloane Stephens is the first player scheduled, and she will be followed by many of the top names in the game as they are interviewed by the international tennis media three days prior to the start of the main draw of the US Open.
Broadcasting and Digital Upgrades
A number of expanded and improved offerings in broadcast distribution and digital platforms will provide US Open fans unprecedented access to the tournament.
Broadcasting from All Courts
For the first time at the US Open, broadcast coverage will be featured from all tournament courts – up to sixteen — and all men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches as well as mixed doubles matches are scheduled to be produced.
ESPN remains the exclusive domestic television home of the US Open and will provide fans with comprehensive live coverage across the ESPN family of networks, including ESPN and ESPN2 on linear television and live streaming of stadium court matches via ESPN3 and on USOpen.org as well field court coverage via ESPN+, the new subscription service from ESPN.
US Open Qualifying Tournament
New this year, Tennis Channel will telecast all of the action from the US Open Qualifying Tournament and Fan Week activities, which take place from Tuesday, August 21 through Friday, August 24. The network will cover the Qualifying Tournament from “first ball to last ball” and ESPN+ will also stream coverage from five courts of Qualifying match play each day as well.
Working with long-time technology partner IBM, the US Open’s official website, USOpen.org, has been completely redesigned to deliver a real-time, immersive content experience for fans all over the world. Fans can follow all the drama from the tournament as it unfolds, including live scores, live match streaming (within the U.S.), player profiles, match highlights, and insightful stories throughout.
US Open Mobile App
The official US Open App has also been completely redesigned to provide fans with the next best thing to being at the US Open. The App delivers the full range of live scoring, viewing, and article content from USOpen.org, as well as scoring alerts for favorite players, and also serves as mission control for the onsite fan. Fans in attendance can use the US Open app to view and scan their tickets, use the interactive grounds map to determine their next move on the grounds, and, in conjunction with the Chase Charge and Watch, watch live matches happening across three stadiums while charging their mobile phones.
US Open Social Media Platforms
The US Open brings the best of the tournament to the fans on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat. Fans can expect to see live video of the top pros practicing, near real-time highlights of matches in progress, match updates and beautiful imagery from aroundthe grounds.
The US Open has a long tradition of marrying history with innovation, from naming its facility for Billie Jean King and its showpiece stadium for Arthur Ashe to breaking new ground in tennis with equal prize money, night tennis, blue courts and instant replay. This tradition of innovation continues at the 2018 US Open with the introduction of several new initiatives.
Electronic Line Calling on All Courts.
In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam event to use electronic line calling technology, informally known as “instant” or “video replay.” Initially installed in Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium, and referred to since 2007 as “Chase Review”, electronic line calling was added in subsequent years to the Grandstand and Court 17 as well as to three field courts: Court 5, Court 10 and Court 13. This year, the US Open becomes the first Grand Slam event to utilize electronic line calling on all match courts. All men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches, along with all mixed doubles matches, are slated to feature electronic line calling technology, which provides a level of consistency and fairness throughout the tournament. The four main stadium courts (Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand and Court 17) house instant replay teams within each stadium. A centralized office housed inside the broadcast compound on the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center handles the electronic line calling for all other courts. In this office, each court is given a dedicated two-person team, consisting of a Review Official and an ELC technician.
Aimed at increasing pace of play and ensuring a consistent set of standards for competition at all matches, a one-minute clock will begin when the second player or team entering the court arrives at the players’ chair(s). If, at the end of that one minute, a player is not at the net for pre-match instructions, he or she will be notified by the chair umpire and subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.
A five-minute time clock will begin following the coin-toss, officially commencing the warm-up period. During this time, the chair umpire will make announcements informing the players of the three-minute, two-minute, one-minute, 30-seconds and end-of-warm-up marks. Following the conclusion of the five-minute warm-up period, a one-minute countdown will commence. At the end of this one-minute countdown, a player must be ready to play. If a player is not ready at this juncture, the chair umpire will announce a “Start of Match Violation,” and the player will be subject to a post-match fine. This will not be a time violation.
The US Open will become the first Grand Slam tournament to institute a serve clock in its main-draw competition. Also designed to increase the pace of play and ensure consistent playing standards for all matches, the clock allows the server up to 25 seconds to serve.
The serve clock will be enforced in each game. Following the point, the score will be entered, the chair umpire will announce the score and will then start the 25-second clock. If the player has not started the service motion at the completion of the 25-second countdown, the Chair Umpire will issue a time violation. In all cases, the receiver is responsible for playing to the server’s reasonable pace. In addition, the chair umpire will have the ability and discretion to pause the clock and the ability to resume the clock from the same time or reset the clock to 25 seconds.
New Fan Enhancements
New Retail Stores in Louis Armstrong Stadium
Louis Armstrong Stadium will now house four new retail store locations. Ralph Lauren, the official apparel of the US Open, will be housed in a 4,200 square foot store that will feature official on-court apparel, the official player towels, and the popular “Create Your Own” collection. Long-time US Open partner Wilson also will be located in the new stadium, and will offer a public viewing of active players’ racquet stringing for the first time. Adidas has been relocated from the West Campus to Louis Armstrong Stadium and its new flagship store will feature its wide-ranging apparel collection. Finally, a 6,000 square foot US Open Collection store will feature the most comprehensive array of US Open products for fans (and their pets) of all ages and sizes.
New Hospitality Offerings
The US Open will debut two brand-new hospitality experiences this year: The “Overlook at the US Open” and the “1968 Room.” The Overlook at the US Open will deliver an upscale, all-inclusive oasis in over 20,000 feet of indoor lounge and rooftop terrace atop the Chase Center, overlooking Arthur Ashe Stadium, the brand new Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the US Open grounds. It will offer its guests pre-match dining, several bars, and a sanctuary to relax and recharge in-between matches. The 1968 Room, a luxurious club within the Overlook, will offer the highest tier of hospitality at the tournament with gourmet chef-curated menus, signature cocktails, and a private roof deck and lounge.
To enhance the overall end-to-end fan experience, American Express will launch new services such as the AMEX Band, a seamless payment wearable band that allows Card Members to pay for purchases and unlock unique benefits with a tap of the band. In addition, American Express is creating a never-before-seen hybrid reality tennis experience called “Super Rally.” Located in the US Open American Experience Fan Experience, the new experience allows players to go beyond augmented reality and simultaneously play tennis in both the digital and physical worlds. Players will enter one of eight bays featuring a life-sized transparent screen. After getting a tutorial on how to play by Venus Williams, fans will use a custom-designed racquet to return virtual tennis balls in augmented reality against physical targets. American Express also will open a new Centurion Suite at the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.
In celebration of the US Open’s 50th anniversary, Grey Goose is putting a twist on the official cocktail of the US Open by introducing the all new frozen Honey Deuce. Both the original and frozen Honey Deuce will be served in a limited-edition 50th anniversary commemorative cup, which features past men’s and women’s US Open singles champions.
Following the opening of its Brand Center in the South Plaza last year, Mercedes-Benz will add a second showroom, located near the East Gate. In this new space, US Open fans will be able to experience Mercedes-Benz’s newest vehicles through interactive exhibits. At the Mercedes-Benz Brand Center, visitors can take a photo with a life-size image of defending US Open Champion Sloane Stephens, the newest Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador.
Lavazza will introduce a new Cold Brew bar at this year’s US Open. The Cold Brew bar will be located on the back side of the Lavazza Café in the food village and will offer a variety of flavor options.
The US Open is scheduled for August 27 through September 9, with the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning on August 21. There is no admission for the Qualifying Tournament.