It was his 1980 U.S. Open run, in which he defeated rivals Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg to defend his title.
McEnroe is also proud of his 1984 championship, where he won his fourth and last U.S. Open title. Though he soundly defeated Ivan Lendl in the finals, he first had to overcome a five-set match against Connors to get there.
These are just some of the memories that fans have of the old Louis Armstrong Stadium, which was first erected in 1978. Last Wednesday, McEnroe joined the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to dedicate the new Armstrong Stadium, a 14,069-seat facility with a retractable roof.
“As a New Yorker and a Queens boy, I couldn’t be prouder of this stadium,” said McEnroe, who was born in Germany but grew up in Douglaston. “I know the players are going to be super excited.”
The new stadium is the “final jewel” of a five-year, $600 million transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, according to USTA President Katrina Adams.
Adams said the tennis organization is proud to have kept a “revered and timeless” name on the facility, which bears significance for both tennis and music fans. Armstrong lived just a few miles away in Corona.
“We are thrilled to continue to honor that legacy with this stadium,” she said. “We consider it a fitting tribute to a singular talent and a true American icon.”
Before cutting a ribbon to officially open the stadium, the USTA invited jazz legend Wynton Marsalis and his eight-piece marching band to perform in front of nearly 1,800 fans.
After the ceremony, McEnroe teamed up with his brother, former tennis player Patrick McEnroe, to face James Blake and French Open winner Michael Chang. Blake and Chang defeated the McEnroe brothers in the first-ever match at the new Louis Armstrong Stadium.
Adams added that the U.S. Open is about making memories for both players and fans. For decades, it happened at the old Armstrong Stadium.
Now, a new generation of tennis fans will watch legendary players and nail-biting matches at the new facility.
“I welcome you all to this wonderful new venue that is sure to become home to some incredible memories for years to come,” Adams said.