US Open organisers have confirmed that Serena Williams, the six-time US Open champion, has had a court with the new hard court surface installed at her home, which some have called unfair.
I can confirm the surface provided by Laykold for the 2020 US Open and Western & Southern Open was shipped to Serena's house. She's got a new court in her backyard, so she has been training. She will be playing and she's excited to come back. Stacey Allaster, US Open tournament director
“I can confirm the surface provided by Laykold for the 2020 US Open and Western & Southern Open was shipped to Serena’s house,” Stacey Allaster, the US Open tournament director said.
“She’s got a new court in her backyard, so she has been training. She will be playing and she’s excited to come back.”
The US Open is using the Laykold court instead of DecoTurf for the first time since 1978.
Some have expressed concerns that Williams’ private court allows her to practice on the new Laykold surface, and that this is an unfair advantage, but Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge has scoffed at the comments.
“I think the Twitter world has made a big uproar about that,” Woodbridge said.
“I can go to when Pat Cash who was playing the Australian Open on Rebound Ace [court surface], his trainer had a court in her backyard and only Pat and Stefan Edberg used to hit there.
“As a member at Wimbledon, I could go and practice there before the tournament when no other players could do that.
“It’s just one of the benefits of having been a good player.
“The US Open surface, anyway, is a generic surface that anybody can have at their club or in their backyard.”
The US Open has been played on different surfaces since the first edition of the nationals took place in Newport, Rhode Island, back in 1881 on grass, where it remained there until 1914.
From 1924, the brand-new Forest Hills Stadium in New York became its home, staying on the iconic site for more than 50 years and having the grass surface in every edition until 1974, when it switched to Har-Tru clay the following year and keeping it for three seasons.
In 1978, the USTA National Tennis Center was ready to host the US Open in Flushing Meadows, Queens, on DecoTurf hard courts, with some of the most legendary players lifting the trophy in New York in the next 42 years.
After more than four decades, organisers decided to change the provider and signed a five-year partnership with Laykold.
The Advanced Polymer Technology company are resurfacing the Arthur Ashe and remaining courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, ahead of the revamped start of the hard court season in August.
Layklold has been the surface at the Miami Open and New York Open, providing the courts for six Challengers in France and five in the USA.
The new Laykold courts are manufactured by Advanced Polymer Technology (APT), a member of Sport Group, the world’s largest business dedicated to sports surfaces.
APT is unique in the industry for its fully integrated global supply chain, from raw materials to installation, allowing for consistency in court quality control, playing performance and sustainability.
Laykold courts are the only courts with vapor barrier designed specifically for the court system, which also dramatically increases consistency in both court performance and court speed.
The Laykold courts come with the most substantial environmental credentials in the industry, with APT the only ISO 14001 environmental-certified court manufacturer in the world.
As such, they are fully compliant with all aspects of sustainability and aligned with the USTA’s sustainability commitments and values.
“At the conclusion of the complete transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, we felt it was time to explore all new approaches and technologies to court surfacing,” Danny Zausner, Chief Operating Officer of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, said in March when the decision was announced.
“During this exploration, Laykold quickly rose to the top, and working with them, we are confident we will have the best-playing and best-performing courts in the world.”
Jim Sacco, APT Chief Operating Officer said: “Laykold has been trusted in the tennis court industry for 75 years and to add the US Open to our roster of major events around the world is a landmark moment for us.
“We have been waiting for an opportunity to showcase our quality at the world’s biggest tennis tournament, and we are delighted to have been chosen.
“We are Grand Slam ready.”