Tag Archives: Tennis

‘Biggest Loser’ trainer Bob Harper helps kids get active at US Open


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Fitness expert and “Biggest Loser” star Bob Harper served up some fun for children at the US Open.

Harper played tennis with young players on Saturday, August 31, after helping the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announce a new coalition to get kids active and healthy through sports.

The tennis association is partnering with 20 national sports governing bodies, such as USA Volleyball and USA Fencing, and other programs, including first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative for the joint venture.

Experts at the press conference agreed that children want to have fun and play, but adults need to do more to give them the opportunity to be active.

“Play is the work of children,” said Dr. Alexis Covine, USTA chief medical officer. “The reason why they would is because it’s fun.”

The tennis association and the national governing bodies will come together in roundtables to discuss the right path to get kids active.

So far their three goals are to: “Make a positive impact on the development of all athletes regardless of ability or income; Elevate the status and expectations of everyone coaching our youth from parent volunteers to career coaches; To drive improvements within the youth sports structure as a whole.”

The USTA has made strides towards these goal by eliminating rankings from 10 and Under Tennis programs so young players can play to have fun and they have started to push for use of smaller courts, racquets and balls that bounce lower to make the game easier. Before, if kids wanted to get into tennis they would have to use the same courts as adults.

Following the press conference Harper took to the practice courts to play tennis with children.

“Being active doesn’t need to be something that’s an albatross around your neck,” Harper said. “It’s about fun, it’s about getting out there with these kids, making a few moves, getting a little sweat on, I think it’s important to show kids and adults being active is a good and healthy way of life.”

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Tennis courts in land swap will still be used by USTA during Open


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Croft

The US Tennis Association (USTA) has agreed to give up some of its rented land in exchange for 0.68 acres the organization has eyed for expanding the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, in an effort to placate critics of the project.

Two pieces of land make up the 1.56 acres that USTA will give back to the NYC Parks Department, according to a news release. One section spanning 0.75 acres is open access area and the remaining 0.81 acres include five tennis courts.

The deal has already drawn criticism from the project’s opponents, who pointed out the parcel of land that includes the courts was already publicly accessible. The only change involved in the deal is that the parks department will run the land.

While USTA will still maintain the courts for Parks, part of the agreement allows the organization to use the facilities during the two-week Open, according to a spokesperson.

Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, said the deal was null.

“They are swapping parkland that we already have access to for parkland that we already have access to,” he said.
USTA executives spent nearly a year lobbying for expansions on the tennis center’s southern border. The expansions would also relocate a connector road currently situated on land rented by the USTA.

But the status of the parkland, and the fact the USTA was not required to replace any lost, became a hot button issue as the project got approval.

“Understanding that every inch of parkland is precious and after seeking input and recommendations from the local Queens communities and elected officials, the USTA, in consultation with the Parks Department, decided it was in the best interest of all parties to propose a parkland swap,” said tennis center COO Danny Zausner.

The six community boards affected by the expansion were split on the project, but Borough President Helen Marshall ultimately recommended that it move forward.

During her April borough board meeting, which USTA executives attended, Marshall said parkland had to be replaced.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news and shows just how much we value every acre of parkland here in Queens,” Marshall said upon the land swap becoming official. “My support for the USTA proposal was conditioned on the need to replace any alienated land in our borough’s flagship park.”

 

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USTA to give back land for National Tennis Center expansion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

It’s a land-for-land deal.

The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) has agreed to give up some of its rented land in exchange for the 0.68 acres the organization needs to expand the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Two pieces of land make up the 1.56 acres that USTA will give back to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, according to a news release. The first 0.75 acres is open access area, with the second 0.81 acres is open recreation with five tennis courts.

USTA executives have spent nearly a year lobbying for expansions at the tennis center, which would expand the tennis center’s property to the south. Expansions would also relocate a connector road currently situated on rented land by USTA.

“At the outset of the project, the City suggested that park improvements would result in a more meaningful degree of public benefit than an in-kind replacement for the 0.68 acres that is proposed for alienation,” said Tennis Center COO Danny Zausner. “However, understanding that every inch of parkland is precious and after seeking input and recommendations from the local Queens communities and elected officials, the USTA, in consultation with the Parks Department, decided it was in the best interest of all parties to propose a parkland swap.”

Community boards were split on recommending the project going through, but Borough President Helen Marshall ultimately recommended the expansion carry on.

During her April Borough Board meeting, with USTA executive present, Marshall said parkland had to be replaced, something that was not required of the organization.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news and shows just how much we value every acre of parkland here in Queens,” Marshall said upon today’s announcement. “My support for the USTA proposal was conditioned on the need to replace any alienated land in our borough’s flagship park.”

 

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Borough President backs National Tennis Center expansion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Borough President Helen Marshall is recommending the city and state go forward with proposed expansions at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Marshall’s Borough Board was one councilmember short at the Monday, April 8 meeting to take a vote, thus forcing her to give her ultimate “yes” recommendation.

“While the Borough Board is not voting tonight,” Marshal said. “I am submitting my formal recommendation later this week. And I can tell you that I am insisting that any alienated parkland must be replaced.”

During the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), the six voting Community Boards were split on the project. The three voting Community Boards that voted yes attached conditions mainly focused on the US Tennis Association being part of a conservancy for the park.

The plan, if approved next by the City Council and the state legislature, could begin this fall, according to USTA officials. Roughly 800 full-time construction jobs are expected for Queens workers over the six-year construction period.

While the project will only eat up about 0.68 acres of green space to the south of the Tennis Center, USTA has now promised to replace that land.

Danny Zausner, chief operating officer at the USTA, said lowering the southern border would ease foot traffic during the US Open. The relocated connector road, currently on the property leased to USTA, would now include sidewalks if the plan is approved.

Expansion at the tennis center and USTA’s community outreach have been questioned by some, however.

Councilmember Peter Koo, one of four city lawmakers at the meeting, told Zausner that small business owners in the past said they were rejected when trying to work with USTA to drive tennis fans into Flushing during the US Open.

Zausner, addressing Koo’s questions, said the association had worked with local businesses in surrounding neighborhoods, including Corona and Flushing, and had seen productive economic revenue to those areas.

But while there had been success, with Zausner pointing to the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Downtown Flushing, he said the USTA could further dialogue with more business owners.

“They [patrons] come for the day session, they run out for dinner either on the Corona side or the Flushing side, and then they come back for the night session,” Zausner said after the meeting. “As I mentioned to the councilmember, I think we’re doing a lot already but there’s no question we could be doing more.”

Borough President Helen Marshall delivers her remarks on expansion at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen)

 

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Op-Ed: What USTA means to me


| oped@queenscourier.com

JenYu

BY JENNIFER YU

I often joke with my parents that I “live at the National Tennis Center (NTC).” That’s because I play tennis there practically every morning before school and also participate in two of their afternoon tennis programs. It’s great because I get to play tennis and compete with kids who have become some of my best friends. Before and after hitting the courts, we all hang out, talk and do our homework together. It’s so much fun.

I’m really hoping that the people of Queens will support the USTA’s plan to make the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park even better than it is now.

The NTC is home to hundreds of community programs like the ones I get to participate in each year. Also, it’s a place where kids like me learn not only the rules of the game but the importance of teamwork, and it’s also where the world’s top players come for the US Open Championships. I hope to one day compete in the US Open.

I first started playing at the NTC when I was eight years old. At the time, I could never have imagined that I would become a competitive and ranked tennis player. I began playing in one of the NTC’s summer camps. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I got training every day. I improved my strokes and made new friends. It was awesome.

I now play in national and regional tournaments and am ranked 12th in the USTA’s Eastern Section’s 12’s age division. I owe a lot of that to the NTC for helping me become the competitive player I am today.

The NTC also helped me grow as a person. Before I began playing tennis at the NTC, I was pretty shy. But after winning some matches on the court, along with daily encouragement and support from my coaches and fellow tennis buddies, my confidence and self-esteem began to soar.

Tennis has become a really important part of my life and the NTC is the place where it all happens. It’s like a second home to me. I’ve met so many great people at the NTC, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to train with the top players in the Eastern Section and receive some of the best coaching in New York. What could be better!

Thanks to the NTC, I can also continue my training during the winter. Through the USTA’s training program (in partnership with the New York Junior Tennis League), competitive players like myself receive coaching, and many program participants go on to earn academic and/or tennis scholarships to college.

I ask the residents of Queens to support the USTA project because the NTC exposes kids like me to the great sport of tennis and also makes it affordable for us.

 

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Hundreds rally against development at Flushing Meadows


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The Unisphere was lit-up red for American Heart Month

Hundreds of residents packed into the Our Lady of Sorrows auditorium in Corona to make known that they want to keep their park.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the biggest park in Queens, is currently being considered for the development of a new shopping mall, two new stadiums and concert venues and several parking garages and roads inside the park.

“We are here this evening because we are going to discuss an area that is our neighbor, it means so much to us,” said Monsignor Thomas Healy of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Several people held up signs reading, “Don’t destroy our second home,” and “Don’t kill our nature.”

The Fairness Coalition of Queens, a group of nonprofit community and religious organizations, hosted the town hall meeting on Monday, September 17 to speak with the community about the effects of the potential projects in the 1,255-acre park.

Many residents are displeased with the proposed plans because they wish to keep an area that, for many, is the only open space available near home. They do not want to lose an area that many people use for both relaxation and exercise.

City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras was also in attendance, and spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about her love for Flushing Meadows.

“We understand that each inch of land we give up is an inch we are not getting back,” she said. “Today this [meeting] has shown to the world that our community does matter, and that our park is our park.”

Amongst hopeful developers are the Wilpon family, the owner of the New York Mets, who proposes to use parkland west of Citi Field to build the largest shopping mall in the city, at 1.4 million-square-feet.

Also, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) wishes to construct two new tennis stadiums and two parking garages within the park.

Danny Zausner, managing director of the tennis center, previously said that the USTA plans will not impact the spot in a footprint perspective.

“We’re taking our existing parking lots in that perimeter and building up,” Zausner said.

Finally, Major League Soccer (MLS) seeks to build a 25,000-seat stadium and concert venue, along with an additional parking garage.

Senator Jose Peralta advocates the construction of an MLS stadium, and has a number of supporters behind him.

Peralta, a Willets Point supporter who went to Monday’s meeting, says that having a new soccer field in a soccer-crazed community could only be beneficial. The number of construction, game-day and permanent jobs could be advantageous to the largely working-class population.

If an MLS stadium is constructed, the senator’s office is also looking into replacement parkland to establish nearby.

In a statement issued by the MLS, it is said that the organization is committed to securing another team for the league located in New York City, and are “thrilled about bringing the world’s sport to the world’s park.” MLS is open to working with the community to build a facility for everyone to enjoy, they said.

“A privately financed soccer stadium to replace a big hole in the ground filled with dirty water is a good deal for soccer fans and the park-goers who would get to enjoy the many upgrades to the park,” said Peralta.

Andy Roddick to retire after U.S. Open


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick announced that at the conclusion of this year’s Open he is hanging up his racket and retiring from tennis.

The 30-year-old 2003 champion announced his decision at a press conference on Thursday, August 30 ahead of his second round match Friday night.

“I just feel like it’s time. I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament,” Roddick said. “When I was playing my first round, I knew.”

The most well-known American tennis player of his generation, Roddick said he’s not sure if he can give 100 percent both physically and mentally.

Roddick has struggled with injuries and finished outside the top 10 for the first time since 2001. He is currently ranked 22nd.

Known for his powerful serve — clocked as high as 155 mph — Roddick reached number one in the world following his victory at the U.S. Open in 2003, the last American male to win a Grand Slam title.

“I was pretty good for a long time,” he said. “For 13 or 14 years, I was invested fully every day.”

Roddick’s next match is Friday night at 7 p.m. against Bernard Tomic.

 

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is aces


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

The kids came to celebrate their “love” of the game.

Thousands of tennis fans flooded the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing for the 17th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day — the official kickoff event for the US Open Tennis Championships — on Saturday, August 25.

Kids and their families enjoyed tennis exhibitions and skills competitions, featuring professional players Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick. On hand to celebrate the start of the US Open were jugglers, unicyclists and magicians who performed for crowds in tennis-themed outfits.

Tots toted oversized, electric-yellow tennis balls, gathering signatures from on-site hall-of-famers. Young players who wanted to show their skills on the court faced off in tournaments throughout the day.

“[Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day] 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,” said USTA executive director and chief operating officer Gordon Smith.

The day-long celebration was headlined by a concert, hosted by “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks and TV host Quddus, the event featured musical performances from “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen, breakout stars The Wanted, Owl City, Mindless Behavior and Rachel Crow.

Allison, 7, and her brother Andrew, 5, from New Jersey, were overjoyed for the musical performances, which were a surprise to the pair until after they arrived. The tiny tennis enthusiasts had attended summer tennis camp not long before the US Open and were excited to see some professional players demonstrate their skills. The siblings had also taken part in the event’s face painting activity. Andrew sported tiger stripes while Allison rocked a floral design.

Olympic gold medal swimmer Missy Franklin and Matthew Morrison from “Glee” also made cameo appearances.

World’s top women to compete at US Open


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The USTA has announced that all 102 of the world’s top women, including 2012 Grand Slam singles champions Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka are entered in the women’s singles field for the 2012 US Open Tennis Championships.

Williams, Sharapova, and Azarenka will be joined in the field by former US Open champions Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur, the defending champion. In all, 37 different countries are represented in the women’s field.

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 Women’s Singles Championship is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

Three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters will make her final appearance in Flushing Meadows after announcing she will retire this year. Clijsters won the 2005, 2009 and 2010 US Open. She holds a 21-match winning streak at the US Open having not competed in Flushing from 2006-2008 and last year. In 2009, Clijsters became the first unseeded player and first wild card to win the US Open women’s singles title.

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who won her first Grand Slam singles title at the 2012 Australian Open, defeating Maria Sharapova in the final. With the win,

Azarenka ascended to No. 1 in the world for the first time in her career.

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, is ranked a career-high No. 2 in the world. She pushed Serena Williams to three sets in the 2012 Wimbledon final and became the first Polish player in the Open Era to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

World No. 3 Maria Sharapova of Russia, won the 2012 French Open title and subsequently captured the career Grand Slam with the win. She also regained the world No. 1 ranking following the French Open and through Wimbledon—a ranking she had not held since May 2008.

Following Azarenka, Radwanska, and Sharapova on the entry list are No. 4 Serena Williams, who won her fifth Wimbledon title this year and 14th Grand Slam singles title overall; No. 5 Samantha Stosur of Australia, the defending US Open champion; No. 6 Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, the 2011 Wimbledon champion; No. 7 Angelique Kerber of Germany, a 2012 Wimbledon semifinalist; No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, the 2009 US Open runner-up; No. 9 Sara Errani of Italy, the 2012 French Open runner-up; and No. 10 Marion Bartoli of France, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up.

Altogether, there are 10 players who have won Grand Slam singles titles in their careers competing in the US Open this year, including former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia, who won the 2008 French Open, and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

Virginie Razzano of France, ranked No. 102, is the last player accepted directly into the women’s field of 128. Additionally, two players used protected rankings to gain direct entry—Agnes Szavay of Hungary, and Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland. 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.

Other American women who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include: No. 27

Christina McHale of Englewood Cliffs, N.J., and No. 44 Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa., who

both train at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at the USTA Training Center-East

and have been named to the U.S. Olympic Team; No. 50 Sloane Stephens of Coral Springs, Fla.;

No. 59 Vania King of Boynton Beach, Fla.; No. 68 Venus Williams of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.,

the 2000 and 2001 US Open champion; No. 69 Coco Vandeweghe of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the

2008 US Open girls’ singles champion; No. 84 Jamie Hampton of Auburn, Ala.; and No. 85 Irina

Falconi of Atlanta.

Among the players competing in the US Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the third annual US Open National Playoffs – Women’s Championship presented by playtennis.com, held during the Emirates Airline US Open Series event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the US Open

Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the US Open National Playoffs last year 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 WTA 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.

The 2012 US Open will mark the culmination of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the North American summer season of 10 ATP World Tour and WTA events that began July 9. The US Open is the highest attended annual sporting event in the world. More than 80 million viewers watched the 2011 US Open on CBS Sports, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel, and international broadcasts reached 180 countries.

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.

 

CityView Racquet Club is aces


| skarim@queenscourier.com

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As the aces tear up the courts at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, you can practice your own swing – and so much more – at the CityView Racquet Club, a private, members-only facility.

Established in 2008, the Long Island City club, conveniently located just minutes away from Manhattan, offers squash and tennis programs for juniors and adults looking to develop their game.

“The owners of CityView Racquet Club recognized that the number of tennis facilities in NYC was diminishing with the increased value of real estate,” said Christina Lenahan, club director. “To ensure that our tennis courts would be protected, we found our home atop the iconic Swingline stapler building, catering to the tennis, squash and fitness needs of our local residents and neighbors.”

Aside from handling general inquiries, membership enrollment, events, marketing, and advertising, Lenahan also makes some time for squash.

“You’ll certainly see me taking advantage of our amazing squash courts,” she said.

The Racquet Club is known for its state-of-the-art fitness equipment, spa, and event space, which includes a bar/lounge and rooftop deck for custom parties, steam and sauna, ping pong, Wi-Fi, as well as complimentary valet.

“CityView has an exceptional teaching staff and has built a reputation as the premier tennis/squash club for adult and junior instruction in the New York City area,” said Lenahan. “We also provide tennis clinics and partner match-up services for both tennis and squash.”

As the club continues to grow, CityView continues to develop new programming opportunities for members – both new and old.

“We are looking forward to creating more of a stronghold here in Queens,” said Lenahan. “We are excited to be a part of this community and plan to grow along with Long Island City, and in the next few years, we foresee that CityView will be recognized by all Queens residents as providing various services from events to racquet sports.

CityView Racquet Club is located at 43-34 32nd Place. To learn more, call 718-389-6252, or visit www.cityviewracquet.com.

 

USTA Arthur Ashe Kids Day


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Arthur Ashe Kids Day

Thousands flooded the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 2012 USTA Arthur Ashe Kids Day celebration on Saturday, August 25. Attendees enjoyed face painting, tennis demonstrations, magic shows and jugglers before watching a tennis show and concert inside the stadium.

To check out our photos from today’s event, click here.

How to get to the US Open


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

More than half of the fans have it figured out — and this year you can get on track to Go Green! With public transportation, you can skip the traffic and parking congestion, be environmentally friendly and spend more time watching world class tennis.

Mass Transit

Use mass transit to make your trip to the US Open convenient and cost-effective.

• Subway: The No. 7 train provides easy service from Grand Central Terminal to Mets-Willets Point Station, including connections for all Metro-North Trains from Westchester and Connecticut.

Service is also available from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

• Long Island Rail Road: LIRR provides easy service to Mets-Willets Point Station from Woodside, and convenient connections from Penn Station for New Jersey Transit customers.

• Schedules Online: The MTA website, mta.info, provides complete schedules and information about the most convenient ways to get to the US Open.

By Car

If your plans require that you drive, please follow these recommendations closely:

• Leave Ample Time: If you drive to the US Open, give yourself ample time to find parking and for traffic delays. Also, visit USOpen.org for the latest travel advisories.

• Follow Directions Closely: Due to new traffic patterns surrounding the Mets’ stadium and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, please follow the USTA’s driving directions closely. Directions are available on USOpen.org and on the back of pre-paid parking permits.

• Check back soon for possible parking restrictions due to Mets home games during the US Open.

DIRECTIONS

FROM MANHATTAN

Take the RFK Bridge (formerly Triborough) to the Grand Central Parkway East. Exit the Grand Central Parkway East at Exit 9E – I-678/RT-25A East/Northern Boulevard East. Stay to the left and follow to the Van Wyck Expressway South. Exit the Van Wyck Expressway South at Exit 12A – College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM BROOKLYN (OPTION #1)

Take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE/I-278) East to the Grand Central Parkway East. Exit the Grand Central Parkway East at Exit 9E – I-678/ RT -25A East/Northern Boulevard East. Take the RT-25A East/Northern Boulevard East exit ramp toward the Mets stadium. At the 1st traffic light off the exit ramp, make a right onto Shea Road. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM BROOKLYN (OPTION #2)

Take the Jackie Robinson Parkway to the Van Wyck Expressway North. Exit the Van Wyck Expressway at Exit 12A. Continue straight on to College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM LONG ISLAND

Take the Long Island Expressway (LIE/I-495) West to Exit 22B – College Point Blvd. At first light, make a right on College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM CONNECTICUT/WESTCHESTER (OPTION #1)

Take I-95 to the Whitestone Bridge to the Whitestone Expressway South. Stay to the left and take the Van Wyck Expressway. Exit the Van Wyck Expressway South at Exit 12A – College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM CONNECTICUT/WESTCHESTER (OPTION #2)

Take I-95 to the Throgs Neck Bridge to I-295/Clearview Expressway South. Exit I-295/Clearview Expressway South at Exit 4 – Long Island Expressway (LIE/I-495) West. Take the Long Island Expressway (LIE/I-495) West to Exit 22B – College Point Blvd. At the first light, make a right on College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM NORTHERN NEW JERSEY (OPTION #1)

Take the George Washington Bridge to the Harlem River Drive, then to the RFK Bridge (formerly Triborough). Follow “FROM MANHATTAN” directions above.

FROM NORTHERN NEW JERSEY (OPTION #2)

Take the George Washington Bridge to the Cross Bronx Expressway, then to the Whitestone Bridge. Take the Whitestone Expressway South. Stay to the left and take the Van Wyck Expressway. Exit the Van Wyck Expressway South at Exit 12A – College Point Blvd. Follow signs to US Open Parking.

FROM SOUTHERN NEW JERSEY:

Take the Verrazzano Bridge to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (I-278) East to the Grand Central Parkway East. Follow “FROM BROOKLYN” directions above.

 

Tennis Center parking plans not met with Love


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Phil Hertling

Officials and advocates are currently volleying parking plans at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Designs for new structures to relieve parking problems at the center will not breach the area allocated to the U.S. Open rented from the city, a Tennis Association representative said. But park advocates say that any new, permanent construction is too much.

Some became vocal about the recently-announced plans to revamp the center — expected to begin next fall — arguing that adding parking spaces to the plan would infringe on the green space of the borough’s largest park, and convert public space into commercial.

Daniel Zausner, managing director of the Tennis Center, said plans to expand on parking would not affect any additional areas of the park; rather, parking structures are expected to be built on the center’s existing lots.

“We’re taking our existing parking lots in that perimeter and building up,” Zausner said. “The most critical thing is we’re not impacting the spot in a footprint perspective.”

The two lots the center currently has, Zausner said, accommodate a little more than 300 spots. With one lot getting a two-tiered structure, and the other a three-tiered, the center will be able to park about 800 cars total. That is still a stretch for the thousands of people the center sees a day when the U.S. Open takes place, Zausner said.

Green space supporters, however, said even building a structure was too much. Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, said the Tennis Center was still violating its rental agreement with the city.

“This isn’t a commercial area,” he said. “It’s public park and most certainly [parking garages] will encourage more cars to come in.”

Kim Ohanian, third vice chair of Community Board 7 and head of the board’s Parks Committee, said bringing more cars in would also have an environmental effect on the park.

Ohanian added that the Tennis Center needed to promote taking mass transit as opposed to driving when attending the U.S. Open.

The center had some 600 spots allocated at what is now World Ice Arena, but lost the site when ground broke on the project more than 10 years ago. Since then, the city did not compensate for parking, aside from city parking in Shea Stadium’s parking lot. When Citi Field was completed, however, the Mets took full control of the parking, Zausner said.

Tennis Ace: Cardozo freshman wins the Girls’ Singles Individuals Tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Sabrina Xiong

Neal Baskin has been coaching for more than 40 years, and he knows talent.

So when Howie Arons, boys’ tennis coach for Benjamin Cardozo High School, told him there could be a prodigy coming to join the girl’s team last year, Basking said he would have to see her for himself.

“I respected Howie’s judgment, but until I see a player I can’t make my judgment,” Baskin said.

Baskin was convinced that the Lady Judges had found a special player after he met Sabrina Xiong and watched her try out for the team.

“I’m always looking for a ‘blue chip’ athlete to come in and that’s what she is,” Baskin said of his star player.

Xiong, 14, slipped into the lead singles role at Cardozo and took PSAL Division A girls’ tennis by storm, going undefeated in the regular season, 7-0, leading Cardozo to finish second in the league. She even breezed past upperclassmen to win the Girls’ Singles Individuals Tournament.

“Winning anything feels great,” Xiong said. “But it was good, especially since I was a freshman, and it was the first time I played on a school team. It was really nice having people support me.”

Baskin admitted the scary thing about the young girl from Fresh Meadows is the that fact that she is a freshman.

No PSAL player has won the singles title four years in row, but Xiong has set herself up to become the first.

“I’ll try my hardest,” Xiong said.

As Arons once pointed out, Xiong had long been big news on the city’s tennis radar before she entered Cardozo.

After her mom signed her up to take tennis lessons at the Billy Jean National Tennis Center when she was eight years old, Xiong just took off.

“At that time I thought maybe she needed to play some kind of sport,” said Jennifer Wang, Xiong’s mother. “But the coaches over there just kept putting her in the next level, and next level and next level.”

In 2010, when U.S. tennis legend John McEnroe opened up his tennis academy on Randall’s Island to foster young talented players, Xiong had developed a burning passion for the sport and went to try out for the program.

Approximately 175 aspiring players were judged on everything from swings, volleys and serves, to physical speed, strength and technical skills.

The field was shortened to about 25, and then six, who were personally evaluated by McEnroe himself.

Xiong aced the evaluation after playing with McEnroe, and earned a full scholarship.

Since then she has trained at the academy, practicing for nearly seven hours a day in the summer. During the school year she travels to the facility on Randall’s Island from 6 to 8 p.m., after completing homework.

“It’s a really good experience,” Xiong said. “It’s really intense and it keeps me motivated. Very few people get the chance to go to the academy and meet John [McEnroe]. And I get to hit with him sometimes.”

On some weekends she competes in United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments for her age group.

With the current No. 3 ranking in the USTA Eastern 14 and under division, she will compete in a Super National tournament in Florida this weekend.

Her success in a sport in which stars usually make their pro debut at an early age leaves many to wonder whether Xiong will be aiming to enter the professional field early.

However, right now she’s not thinking about it at all.

“I’ll wait a little a bit longer,” Xiong said. “I have to train more for that. I think education is my first priority. Getting into a really good college and playing there would be great, because I just want the experience of playing on a [college] team.”