Louis Armstrong Stadium
Louis Armstrong Stadium was the original centerpiece of the USTA National Tennis Center until the expansion of the facility in 1997. Originally called the Singer Bowl, the arena was built for the 1964 World’s Fair but was virtually abandoned after the event until former USTA President Slew Hester came up with the idea of moving the US Open Tennis Championships there from its home in Forest Hills, N.Y., in 1977.
Hester, who had been looking for a place to relocate the tournament, first noticed the stadium from the air when he was flying into LaGuardia Airport. The colorful USTA president inquired about the arena, which had been renamed Louis Armstrong Stadium in the early 1970s in honor of the jazz great who had lived a few blocks from the site, and lobbied to make it the new home of the US Open.
Although it was a major undertaking to have a world-class tennis facility completed within a year, Louis Armstrong Stadium was refurbished and several additional courts were built for the start of the 1978 US Open. Since then, the arena has played host to some of the most exciting moments in tennis history.
Today, Louis Armstrong Stadium serves as the No. 2 arena at the USTA National Tennis Center behind Arthur Ashe Stadium. Although it is no longer the largest stadium at the venue, Louis Armstrong is still one of the most popular places to watch a tennis match. Re-sized from holding 18,000 spectators to just 10,000, the refurbished stadium provides a more intimate setting for the public to enjoy seeing their favorite tennis stars in action.
Other changes made to the stadium include the modernization of the Great Hall, the main hallway encircling Louis Armstrong Stadium, new flooring and lighting, and a new exterior that was refaced in brick to match Arthur Ashe Stadium. In addition, a number of amenities were added for use during the US Open, including a Fila store, a Wilson store, a US Open kids’ shop and a US Open gallery, which has been used to showcase a variety of exhibits.
Even with the many modifications that have been made to Louis Armstrong Stadium since it first became the centerpiece of the USTA National Tennis Center more than two decades ago, one thing remains unchanged. Said then-USTA President Judy Levering at the stadium’s re-dedication ceremony in 1999, "The legendary tennis that has been played in Louis Armstrong through the years is still the same."