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National Tennis Center officials announced that construction on the $500 million project for the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will begin in February and last through the U.S. Open, reports the Daily News. They plan to first install piles to help support a retractable roof planned for Arthur Ashe Stadium. Once the roof is installed, it will only be used in inclement weather and during winter months. Later plans include moving the grandstand to another area of the tennis complex, as well as expanding it, and moving seven other tennis courts to the south. The U.S.T.A will also take on an extra two-thirds acres of parkland and construct two new stadiums (after demolishing two old ones), add parking, and build a fan esplanade. According to the Center Chief Operating Officer Danny Zausner, “We have to host the Open each year, so we had to work on a construction schedule that’s longer than we would like.” City Council approved expansion plans over the summer and Cuomo approved the plans in September after the U.S.T.A promised to return 1.56 acres of land it’s used and donate $10,000,000 over the next 20 years to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

$500 Million Revamp of Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Starts February [NY Daily News]

08/21/12 9:00am

Image source: USTA

It may not be the “official” start of the US Open (Day 1 is Monday, August 27), but great tennis gets underway today at the US Open Qualifying Tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. All of these matches are free through this Friday, and the winners then make up the list of players in the elimination rounds. (more…)