By Luke Jensen, French Open Doubles Champion
Wow! Are you one of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to visit the US (Awesome) Open this year? The anticipation for this year’s Open was extremely high with so much going on. The new roof on Ashe Stadium was completed and seeing how the court would play with nearly 25,000 people in it was great. Then, don’t forget about the overlooked projects like the new grandstand and field courts with new added seating. A roomier feel to the grounds made it feel so much easier to float from court to court.
My review is nothing but a perfect 10 aces! Ashe Stadium has reached its full potential. It went from being one of the most challenging courts to play on in professional tennis with its swirling unpredictable winds, to one of the most unique and comfortable tennis experiences, even when the roof is open. The new grandstand is a work of tennis art. It was able to still capture the essence of the old grandstand, which had a high-five-the-fans-in-the-front-row connection because players were hitting returns in the laps of the fans in the front row. Then there was the Open 2016 energy created with a combination of great matchups and a few upsets for ticketholders in the new grandstand plus grounds pass admission for that fired-up fan who loves to float from pressure moments court to court.
The one surprise was the makeover to the field courts. A new finish to the presentation made it look very aggressive and modern. It reflects what the US Open will always be — The American Tennis Classic — fast, intense and aggressive like in its New York City DNA.
It was really strange not to have Roger Federer there and to see an aging Rafael Nadal never really find his game. It reminds me that Father Time is undefeated. It’s time to look to the next generation of superstar talent, and the American side has a bunch on both the men’s and women’s tours.
My final grade for US Open 2016 is an A+, even though Louis Armstrong Stadium and the old grandstand courts are going away in 2018 to make way for a new stadium with a roof that will once again keep the NYC grand slam the very best in the world!