McEnroe helps U.S. Open’s Armstrong Stadium open for business

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NEW YORK — John McEnroe looked up at a closed roof above Louis Armstrong Stadium, an entirely different view from his playing days.

Minutes later, the roof was open and McEnroe was serving, volleying – and racket throwing – making the U.S. Open’s newest stadium feel like old times.

The rebuilt Armstrong was officially opened Wednesday and will be set for the year’s final Grand Slam tournament starting Monday.

The old No. 1 stadium will seat 14,000 and gives the U.S. Open two retractable-roof stadiums. The roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium has been operational since 2016.

“We’re on our way here,” McEnroe told the crowd during the dedication ceremony, which featured a jazz performance led by Wynton Marsalis as a tribute to Armstrong.

McEnroe, who won all four of his U.S. Open singles titles in the old Armstrong, then joined brother Patrick in a doubles match against fellow Americans Michael Chang and James Blake after the roof had been opened. He dropped his racket to the court in a pretend tantrum after his brother missed a shot.

The new Armstrong completed the final stage of a five-year, $600 million project that remade the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. A new Grandstand had previously opened, and the new stadium sits almost entirely in the footprint for the original Armstrong and Grandstand.

McEnroe, who grew up nearby, didn’t know what would become of Armstrong, which had been the main stadium at the U.S. Open from 1978 until Ashe opened in 1997. McEnroe’s U.S. Open playing career was done by then, so being able to come back to Armstrong was particularly meaningful to him.

“We weren’t sure what was going to happen,” he said, “and finally not only did they put this unbelievable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, but they decided to redesign this facility here, this court and build this … and I know the players are going to be super excited and as a New Yorker and a Queens boy I couldn’t be prouder of this stadium.”

Gael Monfils withdraws from French Open with wrist injury

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PARIS — A thrilling five-set victory took a toll on Gael Monfils, whose withdrawal from the French Open handed No. 6 Holger Rune a walkover to the third round.

The 36-year-old Frenchman said he has a strained left wrist and can’t continue.

He battled Sebastian Baez for nearly four hours on Court Philippe Chatrier before beating the Argentine 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 in a first-round match that ended at 12:18 a.m. local time.

The victory was Monfils’ first at tour level this year, as the veteran was coming back from heel surgery.

“Actually, physically, I’m quite fine. But I had the problem with my wrist that I cannot solve,” he said. “The doctor say was not good to play with that type of injury. Yesterday was actually very risky, and then today definitely say I should stop.”

Monfils reached the semifinals at the French Open in 2008 and made it to the quarterfinals on three other occasions.

Mikael Ymer fined about $40K after default for hitting umpire stand with racket

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

PARIS — Swedish tennis player Mikael Ymer was docked about $40,000 after being disqualified for smashing his racket against the umpire’s chair at a tournament the week before he competed at the French Open.

An ATP Tour spokesman said Ymer forfeited about $10,500 in prize money and 20 rankings he earned for reaching the second round of the Lyon Open. Ymer also was handed an on-site fine of about $29,000.

The spokesman said the ATP Fines Committee will conduct a review of what happened to determine whether any additional penalties are warranted.

The 56th-ranked Ymer, who is 24 and owns a victory over current No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, was defaulted in Lyon for an outburst late in the first set against French teenager Arthur Fils last week.

Ymer was upset that the chair umpire would not check a ball mark after a shot by Fils landed near a line. As the players went to the sideline for the ensuing changeover, Ymer smacked the base of the umpire’s stand with his racket twice – destroying his equipment and damaging the chair.

That led to Ymer’s disqualification, making Fils the winner of the match.

After his 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 loss to 17th-seeded Lorenzo Musetti in the first round at Roland Garros, Ymer was asked whether he wanted to explain why he reacted the way he did in Lyon.

“With all due respect, I think it’s pretty clear from the video what caused it and why I reacted the way I reacted. Not justifying it at all, of course,” Ymer replied. “But for me to sit here and to explain? I think it’s pretty clear what led me to that place. I think that’s pretty clear in the video.”