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19th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day to kick off US Open with concerts, tennis programs


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is hoping to kick off the US Open with a blast through the 19th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day event.

Tennis and musical stars will combine on Saturday to bring a day of fun activities and performances, while signaling the start of the two-week Grand Slam tournament in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Every year, Kids’ Day displays some of the music industry’s top up-and-coming performers at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Last year, Ariana Grande and Austin Mahone took part in the event, and past acts include Justin Bieber, Rihanna, the Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Sean Kingston, Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

This year country superstar Hunter Hayes, duo MKTO, girl group McClain, British pop rock band The Vamps, teen sensation Madison Beer and DJ Salerno, among others will headline the list of performers for the event.

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Besides the concerts, there will be a variety of tennis programs for kids to learn more about the game, such as lessons with professional teachers, special technology to test the speed of kids’ serves and obstacle courses to challenge agility and balance. Fans can also get autographs and watch some pros as they practice for the tournament.

“Not only is Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess a fantastic way to kick off the US Open, but it’s also a great time to encourage youth to be active, play tennis and develop healthy habits,” said USTA Executive Director and COO Gordon Smith. “This annual event continues to bring the entire family together for a fun-filled day of sports and entertainment.”

Michelle

Various celebrities and tennis stars usually host the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. First lady Michelle Obama and Serena Williams shared the stage in last year’s event. This year, actors Jeff Sutphen, China Anne McClain and fitness trainer Shaun T will host the event and US Open men’s singles No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic will make an appearance.

For more information on the event, click here.

 

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Michelle Obama, tennis stars, celebrities highlight Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Dominick Totino

First lady Michelle Obama headlined a star-studded 18th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on August 24 to kick off the US Open and send a message of being healthy and staying active.

As part of her “Let’s Move!” campaign, Obama spoke at the event to encourage children to strive towards their goals, whether it’s in sports, education or life in general.

“If you want to be good at anything you have to put the work in,” Obama said. “That’s how you become successful.”

The first lady was joined on stage by tennis royalty, such as Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

“No one waved the magic wand to make these guys champions,” Obama said. “The president is proud of you, I’m proud of you; we can’t wait to see what you become.”

Up-and-coming performers also graced the stage at the ceremony, including Austin Mahone,  Coco Jones, Fifth Harmony and Ariana Grande, who sang the hit song “The Way.”

Outside of Arthur Ashe Stadium there was tons for children and parents to do.  More young performers entertained fans on the Hess Stage, such as actor and singer Trevor Jackson. There was interactive games, face-painting, circus performers and even tennis lessons. Fans could also watch professional players workout on the practice courts.

“It’s the spirit of the US Open,” said Manhattan resident Carl Wennerlind. “I just went to Roland Garros and I’ve been to Wimbledon a few times. The spirit is just different because its louder, more chaotic, but it’s also more diverse.”

Older fans embraced the event as the start of one of the world’s most celebrated tennis tournaments, while younger fans gained motivation from watching the world’s greatest players practice.

“We have been trying to come for 10 years and finally made it,” said Himadraya Ashar, whose sons are just starting to play tennis. “I think just watching the quality of tennis is inspiring.”

The US Open tournament matches will start on Monday, August 26.

 

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