Tag Archives: US Open Court of Champions

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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Agassi to join Court of Champions


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The USTA has announced that Andre Agassi, a two-time US Open Champion, has been named the 2012 inductee into the US Open Court of Champions, a US Open and USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center attraction honoring the greatest singles champions in the history of the U.S. Championships/US Open.

Agassi will be inducted during an on-court ceremony in Arthur Ashe Stadium prior to the Men’s Singles Championship on Sunday, September 9. Patrick McEnroe will host the ceremony.

The US Open Court of Champions salutes the tournament’s all-time greatest champions with an individual permanent monument that serves as a lasting tribute. Agassi will join prior inductees Arthur Ashe, Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Jimmy Connors, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Althea Gibson, Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, Jack Kramer, Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova, Margaret Osborne duPont, Ken Rosewall, Pete Sampras, Bill Tilden and Helen Wills. A panel of international print and broadcast journalists selected the 2012 inductee from the roster of U.S. champions based on their performances at the tournament and their impact on the growth of the event.

“Few tennis players have impacted the sport of tennis more than Andre Agassi,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “He is a champion both on and off the court, elevating the popularity of our sport while playing, and now helping to enhance the lives of children off the court with his generosity and dedication to providing young people with the opportunity for a quality education. He truly deserves this honor.”

Agassi, the son of a former Olympic boxer, grew up in Las Vegas with a ball machine in his backyard, developing extraordinary hand-eye coordination that has seldom – if ever – been matched in the history of tennis. Turning pro at 16, he quickly established himself as one of tennis’ top talents and a definitive fan favorite.

Bold, brash and bigger-than-life, Agassi won the US Open men’s title in 1994 (the first unseeded player in the Open era to capture the US Open) and again in 1999. His punishing baseline game, unparalleled return-of-serve and superior athleticism allowed him to win a career Grand Slam and a total of eight career Grand Slam titles, as well as a gold medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He also was a member of two U.S. Davis Cup-winning teams. Agassi competed in a men’s Open-era record 21 consecutive US Opens. He was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.

Today he focuses a good deal of his time and efforts on the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education and the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, a tuition-free public charter school for at-risk youth in Las Vegas.