Tag Archives: Novak Djokovic

PHOTOS: A look back at a US Open filled with stars and a huge upset

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography

One player’s yearlong span of dominance, another player’s career and a history of rain delays all came to an end at this year’s U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The last few days at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center were filled with historic moments beginning with Friday’s stunning defeat of defending women’s champion Serena Williams at the hands of unseeded Roberta Vinci in the semifinals.

Williams was looking to become the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to sweep all four tennis Grand Slam events in the same calendar year. Williams looked well on her way doing it after the first set against Vinci, which she won convincingly, 6-2. But the unseeded Italian shocked everyone by taking the next set against Williams, 6-4, before finishing off the defending champ in the third and final set by the same score.

Vinci’s Cinderella run to for a U.S. Open title came up short in the finals on Saturday, also in dramatic fashion, as she lost to the 26th seed and fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta. Before a packed house at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Pennetta captured the U.S. Open title in straight sets — 7-6, 6-2 — then stunned everyone by announcing her retirement after accepting her championship trophy.

Sunday’s men’s final between defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer featured what will likely be the last rain delay in Arthur Ashe Stadium history. A retractable roof will be ready for next year’s U.S. Open, thus preventing delays for future finals and other marquee tennis matches.

Djokovic and Federer, the tournament’s top seeds, took the court around dusk and put on a show for the sellout crowd. Djokovic took the first set, 6-4, then Federer — a sentimental favorite among many in attendance — bounced back to win the second set, 7-5.

In the end, Djokovic assumed control of the match in the third set, winning 6-4, then won the fourth set by the same score to capture his second U.S. Open title and third Grand Slam event this year.

As in past years, the two-week tournament brought out huge crowds and celebrities from the stage and screen who took in the action. Among the notable names in attendance for the matches were singer/songwriter James Taylor; soccer champion David Beckham; New York Yankee infielder Alex Rodriguez; Anna Wintour of Vogue magazine; and actors Ben Stiller and Robert Redford.

It figures to be more of the same at next year’s Open, which is scheduled to begin on Aug. 29, 2016.


PHOTOS: US Open gets underway in grand style at National Tennis Center

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dominick Totino Photography

The eyes of the tennis world are again on Queens for the next two weeks as the best players in the world seek the coveted U.S. Open championships at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Festivities leading up to the tournament’s start on Monday began last week with two fun-filled days of activities. Queens Day on Aug. 26 offered guests a range of events and programs centered around the “World’s Borough,” while Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Aug. 29 featured music, entertainment, tennis exhibitions and other activities geared at the younger generation of tennis fans.

The real business of the tournament got underway on Monday with the start of the two-week U.S. Open tournament, headlined by a grand opening ceremony in the evening on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Billie Jean King herself helped welcome guests, while Josh Groban and Vanessa Williams performed for the crowd.

Though Day One of this year’s open featured a few surprising upsets, including the ouster of Ken Nishikori, last year’s open runner-up, the men’s and women’s top seeds — Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams — were both victorious in their first-round matches.

When eyes weren’t on the action, fans across Arthur Ashe Stadium did their share of people watching, and they weren’t disappointed in finding a number of celebrities in attendance such as Alec Baldwin, Katie Couric and Ben Stiller.


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.


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.”


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.



Men’s lineup at the US Open

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

World No. 1 and five-time US Open singles champion Roger Federer, defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic, and former US Open champions Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro lead the men’s singles field for the 2012 US Open Tennis Championships.

Each of the world’s top 101 men received direct entry into the US Open, representing 37 countries.

The 2012 US Open will be played August 27 – September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.9 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.9 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Emirates Airline US Open Series. The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz USA.

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Roger Federer, who returned to the top ranking following his title at Wimbledon this year. Federer surpassed Pete Sampras to set the record for the most weeks at No. 1 in the ATP rankings at 287 weeks. Federer is seeking his sixth US Open title, which would surpass Sampras and Jimmy Connors for most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era. In 2007, Federer became the only man to win the Emirates Airline US Open Series and US Open titles in the same year.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is the defending US Open champion after defeating Rafael Nadal in four sets in the final last year for his first US Open championship. Djokovic won the 2012 Australian Open and reached the final of the French Open. He held the No. 1 ranking from July 2011 up to Wimbledon this year—the first player other than Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to be ranked No. 1 on the ATP World Tour since Andy Roddick in 2003.

Following Federer and Djokovic on the entry list are No. 4 Andy Murray of Great Britain, the 2008 US Open runner-up; No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain, a 2007 US Open semifinalist; No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up; No. 7 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up; No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, a 2011

US Open quarterfinalist; No. 9 Del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 US Open singles champion; and No. 10 Nicolas Almagro of Spain.

In all, there are six entrants who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers, including 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain.

Other American men who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include: No. 11 John Isner of Tampa, Fla.; No. 13 Mardy Fish of Los Angeles; No. 43 Ryan Harrison of Austin, Texas; No. 55 Sam Querrey of Las Vegas; No. 58 Donald Young of Atlanta; No. 79 Brian Baker of Nashville, Tenn.; No. 85 Jesse Levine of Boca Raton, Fla.; and No. 96 Michael

Russell of Houston.

Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil, ranked No. 101, is the last player accepted directly into the men’s field of 128. Additionally, three players used protected rankings to gain direct entry:

Somdev Devvarman of India; Paul-Henri Mathieu of France; and Tommy Robredo of Spain.

Sixteen more players will gain entry through the US Open Qualifying Tournament, August 21-

24, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the third annual US Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship presented by playtennis.com, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series women’s event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14-and-older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the US Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 Sectional Qualifying Tournaments.

The July 16 edition of the ATP World Tour rankings was used to determine the US Open main draw entry list. Seeds will be determined and announced closer to the start of the event.


Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day preview

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Pop-vocal sensation The Wanted, chart-topping singer Carly Rae Jepsen, special guest performer Owl City and from Nickelodeon’s How to Rock, Cymphonique Miller and Max Schneider, will team up with reigning US Open Champion Novak Djokovic, U.S. #1 men’s singles player John Isner, three-time US Open Champion Kim Clijsters and Mardy Fish at the 17th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess Saturday, August 25 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, from 9:30 a.m. – 4p.m.

Hosted by AAKD alumnus Jordin Sparks and TV personality Quddus, the popular full-day tennis and music festival for children and adults alike features interactive games, musical entertainment and tennis activities. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess will kick off the 2012 US Open, which runs from August 27 – September 9.

From 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., kids and their families can enjoy an exciting schedule of free tennis games, live music and attractions taking place throughout the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Inside Arthur Ashe Stadium from 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., the live tennis and music show will feature fun exhibition matches and skills competitions with Novak Djokovic, John Isner, Kim Clijsters, Mardy Fish and other top players and celebrities with musical performances by The Wanted, Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl City, Cymphonique Miller, Max Schneider and other talent to be announced.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will be broadcast nationally by CBS on Sunday, August 26, from noon – 1:30 p.m (ET). Kids 12-and-under with stadium show tickets will receive a free Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day hat from the USTA and Hess on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We are thrilled to kick off the 2012 US Open with the 17th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess featuring the most popular names in sports and entertainment today,” said Gordon Smith, USTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. “The event holds a long-standing history of providing a day of fun-filled family activities as attendees celebrate the life of Arthur Ashe and his mission to empower children of all ages through tennis.”