For the first time in US Open history, duelling night sessions will be waged for the first five days of the Open because of the new $150 million, 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The regular Arthur Ashe Stadium night session will go on as usual, but 6,000 separate tickets for the lower bowl have been sold for a special two-match night session at Armstrong.
Those Armstrong night session ticket holders will not have access to Ashe’s night session, but Ashe ticket holders for the evening can sit in the general admission seats of the upper bowl of Armstrong.
The USTA said the first five days contain enough marquee matches to go around, and it gives the ESPN telecast more options.
It obviously also creates a new revenue stream, as the USTA has just completed the final step of its $600 million revamping of its Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, including two retractable roofs.
Armstrong is the second show-court after Ashe and will debut its first night card on Monday, with Victoria Azarenka facing Viktoria Kuzmova followed by No 3 seed Juan Martin Del Potro against American Donald Young.
Ashe will counter Monday night with Serena Williams’ Open return against Poland’s Magda Linette, followed by the all-Spanish encounter of Rafael Nadal against David Ferrer.
The first official match on Armstrong is No 1 Simona Halep vs. Kaia Kanepi at 11 a.m. Monday.
In an interesting change, Ashe will host just two matches during the day sessions — down from three, thus eliminating the chance of marathon matches affecting the start of the night sessions.