Tag Archives: United States Tennis Association

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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First phase of National Tennis Center expansion complete


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy United States Tennis Association

The United States Tennis Association announced Monday the completion of the first phase of a five-year, $500 million transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, just weeks ahead of the 2014 US Open.

The renovations include new elevated seating around Courts 4, 5 and 6 that create a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans.

The elevated seating area will hold more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 will be the US Open’s seventh television court. It will also feature two video screens and electronic line calling.

The changes to the courts will be followed by other expansions of the National Tennis Center, which include two new stadiums to replace the Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand stadiums, a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the expansion of the south section of the tennis center campus to accommodate an additional 10,000 fans daily during the Grand Slam.

The entire project is projected to be completed by 2018.

The 2014 US Open begins on Monday, Aug. 25, and concludes on Sept. 8.

 

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Fresh Meadows tennis pro competing for US Open spot


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy USTA Middle States


A Fresh Meadows tennis player is closing in on a spot in the US Open later this year, but she’ll have to fight her way in.

Jennifer Elie, 27, won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Middle States sectional national playoffs tournament on June 24, which slots her in as a wild card in the US Open qualifying tournament held a week prior to the national Grand Slam in August. Should Elie win that draw, she’ll advance to the US Open.

Elie, who played for Francis Lewis High School, has been a consistent player on the USTA Pro Circuit and in International Tennis Federation (ITF) events. She won two ITF singles titles in 2012 in Caracas, Venezuela, and has also won four USTA Pro Circuit and ITF-level doubles events.

Elie, who peaked at No. 286 in the world in April 2013, has a win over current world No. 18 Sloane Stephens at a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Kentucky in 2011.

 

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Benjamin Cardozo HS tennis star takes city title again


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre



She’s done it again.

Benjamin Cardozo junior tennis player Sabrina Xiong became a two-time PSAL individual champion after defeating Stefani Lineva of Forest Hills High School on Wednesday at the National Tennis Center.

Xiong, who ranks first in the PSAL and also in the United States Tennis Association’s under 16 eastern section, was in top form and breezed past Lineva in two sets (6-1, 6-1).

“It’s definitely a feel great feeling just knowing that all my hard work and training paid off,” she said.

Xiong, who has been in contact with NCAA Division 1 college coaches, dreams of turning pro one day but first plans to go to college and major in economics.

But before she heads to the next level, Xiong still has something left to accomplish at the high school level.

During her career at Cardozo, the Judges have come up short in the PSAL team tennis finals for three consecutive years. They lost against Beacon High School (4-1) on May 13— Xiong won the only match in the best of five series.

In her senior year next season she hopes to lead Cardozo to a team championship.

“Cardozo has always been top in tennis,” Xiong said. “Unfortunately, we’ve fallen short in the past three years. It would be great if we got it.”

 

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‘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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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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USTA plans to build roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of the United States Tennis Association

Updated Thursday, August 15

Tennis fans may no longer have to suffer when it rains during the U.S. Open.

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) officially announced on Thursday that it will construct a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, the central court in the Grand Slam tournament, as a part of sweeping $550 million renovation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“We have been working toward a viable design for a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium for more than a decade,” said Dave Haggerty, president and chair of the USTA. “Through a long and arduous process, we feel that we now have a design that meets the criteria of being architecturally sound, aesthetically pleasing, reasonably affordable, and buildable.”

In the past, fans and players expressed concern about a roof at the U.S. Open to put an end to rain interruptions. With the retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, all four Glam Slam tournaments will have at least one covered court or plans to build one.

The renovations will be completed by the 2018 U.S. Open and will also include two new stadiums, a viewing plaza for practice courts and southern relocation of courts. This will allow the tennis center to hold 10,000 more people daily during the Grand Slam. The USTA will pay for the construction through bonds and “revenue generation.”

The roof itself is expected to cost $100 million and should be ready by 2017. The roof is being designed by Rossetti, the architect of Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Construction will begin after this year’s U.S. Open in three phases. The first is to shift the existing practice courts and two tournament courts to the north and expand the viewing area near the practice courts. The viewing plaza near the practice courts will allow fans to view players as they warm up and train.

In phase two the new 8,000-seat Grandstand Stadium will be built in the southwest quadrant of the tennis center in time for the 2015 U.S. Open. In the final phase, a new 15,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium will be constructed, “roof-ready,” by 2018 U.S. Open. The USTA also plans to redesign the walkways around the center to make strolling around the area easier for fans.

“We recognize there are many known, and certainly many unknown, hurdles we will have to confront to meet this schedule,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director. “We are ready for the challenge and hope we can achieve it.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Heat Brings Outages, Voltage Reductions To Some; Fun To Others

The second day of near-triple-digit temperatures brought power outages and voltage reductions to thousands across the city. As of 10 p.m. Thursday evening, Con Edison is reporting more than 2,500 outages across the five boroughs. 1,019 of those outages are in Brooklyn, while 906 are in Queens. Read more: [NY1]

Cuffs for big bro, 23, who ‘lost’ li’l bro, 5

A Queens boy learned the hard way he can’t count on his big brother. Zackary Nazario, 5, was missing for more than eight hours after he was frightened out of his South Ozone Park home by a cockroach — while his baby-sitting 23-year-old brother was out buying a beer. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall launches gun buy-back program 

The all-too-frequent sound of gunfire in one Queens precinct has been heard in Borough Hall. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, responding to an alarming number of shootings in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, has come up with $50,000 for a gun buy-back program on Saturday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Queens Residents Complain Horse Manure From Riding School Leaving A Stinky Mess.

In the midst of oppressive heat, a Queens neighborhood with aquaint view of horses has become overwhelmed by the smell of them. Lynne’s Riding School in Forest Hills is a little stable tucked into a corner of the big city. They have been offering lessons for 65 years, but, lately, the old stable has been the subject of complaints from newer neighbors.Read more: [1010wins]

 U.S. Open Holds Ball Person Tryouts

Hundreds of hopefuls tried out to be ballboys and ballgirls at the U.S. Open Thursday. Battling sweltering temperatures, contestants from all over the city lined up outside the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for a shot at one of the 80 available positions. United States Tennis Association officials evaluated the competition on their running, throwing and catching skills. Read more: [NY1]

Queens high school violinist seeks to play his way from an F-train platform to a concert stage 

 

At a time when high school students are struggling to find part-time gigs in the tough economy, a 19-year-old Queens violinist is tapping into his pursuit of virtuosity to create a college fund. Yut Chia, who is graduating from Bayside High School this month, has been filling subway platforms with his bitter-sweet classical renditions since he was a junior and hopes to raise funds to keep up his musical pursuit. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Expansions for the US Open expected to draw more crowds, funds


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Tennis Centerw

Prospective development at the home of the US Open could mean an ace for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and Queens.

Members of the USTA and borough officials served up information about the upcoming plans, set to begin in the fall of 2013, at a meeting on Thursday, June 14 at the Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The multi-year, multi-million dollar makeover will include amending the infrastructure, upgrading buildings and improving site circulation, creating what the USTA executives believe will be an improved experience for players and fans alike.

“Our goal remains to ensure that the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center remains a world-class facility for the top professional tennis players, for the hundreds of thousands of fans who annually attend the US Open, and, as importantly the near hundred thousand recreational tennis players who use this facility all year round,” said Jon Vegosen, president of the USTA.

According to the USTA, the US Open generates more than $756 million a year in economic activity, draws a crowd of 700,000 and reaches a global audience of 85 million viewers in 188 countries.

“The city recognizes the crucial need to improve the USTA facility and supports this vision, so that the center remains a top-ranked tennis venue capable of hosting the US Open and thereby allowing the tournament to remain in New York City for many decades,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The project will forge two new stadiums – one replacing Louis Armstrong Stadium, which will remain in its current location, and a brand new Grandstand Stadium, constructed in a different spot at the southwest corner of the site. Both stadiums were originally built during the 1964-65 World’s Fair. The Louis Armstrong Stadium, constructed for the fair as a Singer Bowl, is a 125,000 gross-square-feet facility with approximately 10,000 seats. The stadium to be erected in its place will have the ability to seat 15,000 guests and include concession, retail, broadcasting and administrative spaces. The Grandstand Stadium, also created as a Singer Bowl for the World’s Fair, will be demolished and rebuilt to seat 8,000 fans.

Amenities at the newly renovated facilities will include seven additional courts, two parking garages and an elevated viewing platform. Combined, the improvements are expected to acquire an additional 10,000 people per day during the tournament.

According to the USTA, the US Open creates 6,000 seasonal jobs – 85 percent of employees hail from New York City and 41 percent from Queens.

“For generations, the Borough of Queens has played host to the US Open, a world class sporting event and a major economic catalyst for our city,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “I look forward to working with the USTA to ensure that the new additions to the NTC bring the maximum benefit to the people of the borough of Queens.”