Think Tennis – U.S. Open Style

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It’s that time of year again – time for the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.

The courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center are being readied as the 250-person army of ball persons is being tested and selected. All over the world, the pros of the tennis world are planning their trips to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Kicking off on August 31 and running for two weeks, the U.S. Open, which is celebrating its 125th year, is the last stop on the Grand Slam events tour.

Tennis fans will get the chance to see their favorite stars compete in men’s and women’s singles and doubles, along with mixed doubles. As always, the venue for this prestigious event will be at United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Coming off his record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, the Swiss juggernaut, Roger Federer, is set to showcase his skills defending his crown. Federer, who has won the last five U.S. Opens, overpowered Andy Murray last year in the 2008 finals. Now, Federer, who will be turning 28 only weeks before the event, looks to be an unstoppable force – not showing any signs of slowing down.

Nevertheless, this Grand Slam event is not just a one-man show. Federer will get fierce competition from Rafael Nadal of Spain, American Andy Roddick, and Serbian Novak Djokovic, all of whom plan to challenge Federer for his king of tennis title. Both Nadal and Roddick have nagging knee and hip injuries that could sideline them from the event. Federer has said that he wants them both to stay healthy, since they were both playing at such a high level prior to those injuries.

On the distaff side of the net, the women’s defending champion, Serena Williams, is also coming off another big win as she defeated her sister Venus at Wimbledon. Even after the dominating performance at Wimbledon, she is still ranked number two in the world. The finals at last year’s U.S. Open proved to the world that Serena is back, as she defeated Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic in two sets, 6-4 and 7-5.

Along with Federer, Serena will have to hustle and hope she does not run into a strong-willed competitor such as sister Venus or Kim Clijsters, former U.S. Open champion, who said she is coming out of retirement to claim what is rightfully hers.

Number one ranked women’s tennis star Dinara Safina will be out to prove to the world that she is truly equal to her seeding following her first Grand Slam title.

Making his return to the U.S. Open this year will be Andre Agassi – but this time, without a racket. Agassi will be honored at the opening ceremony for his outstanding commitment to charitable work and his Andre Agassi Foundation, which was founded in 1994.

The USTA has also upped the ante, and the winners of the men’s and women’s singles events will each receive a record-breaking $1.6 million in prize money.

Matches are usually scheduled for either 11 a.m. or 7 p.m. on various courts throughout the complex.

The women’s finals, which will be held on Saturday, September 12, and the men’s finals, which will be held on Sunday, September 13 will most likely be played at the renowned Arthur Ashe Stadium.