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How many courts does the US Open have?

Serena Williams sparked a single-day record attendance at the US Open on the opening day of the 2022 tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Serena effect sets single-day attendance record at US Open
Tim Clayton - CorbisGetty

The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has staged the US Open since 1978, the tournament previously having been held at the Newport Casino, Rhode Island, and the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. When the US Open made the move to Flushing Meadows, it also switched to hard courts after being played on grass from 1881 to 1974 and then a brief flirtation with clay between 1975 and 1977. In total the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has 22 courts set across 46.5 acres with an additional 12 practice courts located in a complex constructed outside the main grounds in 2006.

A packed Arthur Ashe watched Serena Williams play  Danka Kovinic.
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A packed Arthur Ashe watched Serena Williams play Danka Kovinic. Tim Clayton - CorbisGetty

Arthur Ashe the largest tennis arena in the world

The main show courts at Flushing Meadows are Arthur Ashe - which is the largest tennis stadium in world with a capacity of 23,771 - Louis Armstrong, which was remodelled ahead of the 2018 US Open and holds 14,061 spectators, the 8,125-seat Grandstand and Court 17, which was inaugurated in 2011 and holds up to 3,000 fans. Court 17 carries the nickname “The Pit” because the playing surface itself is eight feet below sea level.

The remainder of the courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are split between 13 field courts (or outer courts) and five practice courts. The competitive courts are numbered between 4 and 16 and have a total capacity of 12,656, the largest being the 1,704-capacity Courts 11 and 12.

Since 2005 the US Open has welcomed over 600,000 spectators annually with the number of fans through the gates regularly exceeding 700,000. The single-year attendance record stands at 737,872 spectators in 2019. The following season, attendance was zero due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Serena sparks scramble for tickets

In 2022, it is possible that record will be beaten. Serena Williams’ impending retirement has sparked unprecedented demand for tickets this year and the American 23-times Grand Slam winner’s opening game against Danka Kovinic attracted a sell-out crowd on Arthur Ashe. Across all courts on the opening night session of the tournament, 29,402 spectators were in attendance, marking a tournament record. Overall, there were 71,332 fans at the US Open on Monday 29 August, the highest single-day attendance in the competition’s history.


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