For most tennis players, all we need is a chain link fence that’s tall enough to make sure we’re not losing any balls and a court that doesn’t have any holes. When you’re among the best players in the world, though, only a large and illustrious stadium will do.
With that in mind, there are top-notch tennis venues all around the world, but a few really have the most prestige. Here are the five best professional tennis venues on Earth.
5. Rod Laver Arena
Surprisingly, Rod Laver Stadium is one of the oldest tennis venues on the list as it broke ground in 1985 and was opened in January 1988. Rod Laver Arena is a multipurpose venue, but most people around the world know it for tennis as it’s the home to the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the calendar year.
Kooyong Stadium had long been the main venue for the Australian Open, but its age was really starting to show. In today’s money, more than a quarter billion was spent on the construction of Rod Laver Arena, which was originally known as the National Tennis Centre at Flinders Park. Now, it’s named after the tennis great who won three Australian Opens.
4. Louis Armstrong Stadium
Named after legendary American musician Louis Armstrong, this stadium in Queens, New York is located at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. What makes LAS so unique is that the stadium is one of the largest tennis venues in the world with a retractable roof. The former stadium of the previous name was torn down in 2016, with the new version opening in 2018.
Rossetti Architects is responsible for the design of the beautiful venue that’s by far the youngest on the list. Featuring a DecoTurf surface, there are more than 14,000 seats inside the stadium that are split almost evenly between the lower and upper decks. The first official match was also a big one, with a WTA number one ranked player (Simona Halep) losing in the opening round of a US Open for the first time ever.
3. Arthur Ashe Stadium
The other major event at the US Open is also named after a legendary American, except this time with a focus on tennis. Arthur Ashe Stadium is where the championship of the US Open takes place, and it’s the largest tennis-focused stadium in the world with a capacity of nearly 24,000 people.
Arthur Ashe Stadium first opened in 1997 and has undergone a massive renovation that changed the structure to include a retractable roof. The stadium has held several non-tennis events as well but has been home to some of the greatest matches in United States tennis history.
2. Court Philippe Chatrier
All tennis players dream of making it to the French Open so that they can play at Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France. The second-oldest venue on the list, Roland Garros first opened in 1928 and has been the home to the French Open ever since. There are 20 courts total at Roland Garros spread across 34 acres including three full-sized stadiums.
The largest of the stadiums is Court Philippe Chatrier, which holds 15,000 people, and was named in honor of the man that led the French Tennis Federation and kept the sport in the Olympics. The venue has people feeling like they’re right on top of the action and the recent renovation has kept it a top notch facility.
1. Wimbledon Centre Court
Of course, the most famous venue in all of the tennis has to be at the top of the list, and that’s Centre Court at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, a.k.a. Wimbledon. The court, when originally constructed in the late 19th century, had just a couple of rows of seating. Now, there’s a capacity of over 15,000 people, and was finalized in 1922.
Centre Court has held some of the best moments in tennis history, and since 2009 has had a retractable roof to keep the party going into late night, rain or shine. Even the Royal Family makes sure to attend Wimbledon each year as they get their own box and the best seats in the house.