Peter Haskell/WCBS 880

50th US Open Gets Underway In Queens

August 27, 2018 - 12:14 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The top tennis players in the world have descended on Queens for the 50th US Open.

There's been a lot of stress and anxiety, but the $500 million rebuilding of the tennis center at Flushing Meadows is finally complete.

"This is our capstone year. We have been under construction essentially for six years, taking a break each year to stage the US Open," said tournament director David Brewer.

There are now two roofs on two stadia at the center, but they will only close for rain, not heat.

"At the end of the day, this is an athletic contest and we want to make sure that we are fair to our players and that they have a level playing field," Brewer said.

The new 14,000 set Louis Armstrong Stadium has a retractable roof, similar to the one installed at the Arthur Ashes Stadium for the 2016 event.

But that's the only thing that's different at the new stadium.

"What you see when you first walk in here is nothing but concession stands and restrooms -- the two things that every stadium needs to have and we have those in abundance now at both levels," Brewer said.

There are also new flowers and more trees to provide extra shade at the grounds.

On day one of the U.S. Open, there has already been an upset. Simona Halep, who won the French Open in June, was beaten by 44th-ranked Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, becoming the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose in the first round of the tournament.

“It was amazing,” said Rebecca Franson of Idaho, who watched as a top seed was knocked out in the opening round for the first time.

Tim Mercado of Brooklyn Heights likes to root for the underdogs.

“These people out there are just really busting it to get it done, and they’re doing it – they’re not making it billions and millions; they don’t have a million sponsors like wanting them to do this, and you know, being able to come and go out on the courts and just go from court to court to support them, I think that’s important,” Mercado said.

Mercado thinks this is the best day of the tournament, when you can see top players on every court.

It was the first match to be held at the newly rebuilt Louis Armstrong Stadium.