Tag Archives: us open

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.

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US Open reveals culinary lineup featuring gourmet cuisine, food trucks


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Levy Restaurants

Tennis balls are not the only thing served at the U.S. Open.

The United States Tennis Association announced a lineup of culinary offerings at the upcoming tournament featuring old favorites, new dining experiences and celebrity chefs with international resumes.

Levy Restaurants — the official restaurant partner of the U.S. Open — has arranged for U.S. Open Executive Chef Jim Abbey and a culinary team of 250 to prepare food across five restaurants, 60 concession stands and 100 suites during the games, which are expected to attract more than 700,000 fans.

This year’s expanded food choices will include renowned restaurateur Ed Brown joining Iron Chef sushi master Masaharu Morimoto at ACES, the U.S. Open’s signature seafood stop which opened in 1997. The ACES menu includes fresh sushi and sashimi and Skuna Bay salmon served with green apple, red watercress, horseradish, cucumber and extra virgin olive oil.

The U.S. Open will also be welcoming its second food truck onto the premises this year with the arrival of Sweet Chili, which serves Thai and Vietnamese food combining both sweet and savory flavors. Dishes at Sweet Chili will include maple miso tofu (a maple-infused tofu served with jasmine rice), and chips and salsa served with fresh shrimp.

Other dining options at the U.S. Open include Michelin Star chef Michael White of Costata serving dishes in the Champions restaurant, Juice Press selling organic bottled juices and smoothies, and Maya serving modern Mexican fare from its New York restaurant led by former tennis pro Richard Sandoval. Lavazza brand beverages — the exclusive coffee of the U.S. Open— will be served in cafes, and the signature cocktail the Grey Goose Honey Duece —with vodka, lemonade, raspberry liqueur and honeydew melon “tennis balls” — has been brought back by popular demand.

Besides substantial additions to the culinary lineup, the U.S. Open will be extending service from two of the food village vendors up to the Arthur Ashe Stadium Club Level. Fans with tickets in that seating area will be able to order from Hill Country Barbecue and Maya to sample dishes such as Maya’s steak tacos made with grilled steak, salsa and cilantro and a chopped brisket sandwich tossed with homemade sauce from Hill Country Barbecue.

The U.S. Open will serve approximately 15,000 pounds of beef, 7.5 tons of crab, shrimp and lobster, and 85,000 pounds of poultry at this year’s games. The USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center kitchens donate more than 10 tons of unsold prepared food to the local community and compost all food waste, collecting 240 tons to send offsite for landscaping and farm use.


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Teens from Little Neck and Flushing to serve as US Open ball persons


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Junior Tennis and Learning

It’ll be the experience of a lifetime.

Two Queens kids from the NY Junior Tennis and Learning (NYJTL) program will be front and center as ball persons at the U.S. Open next week to assist their favorite players throughout the games.

Shelly Yaloz of Little Neck and Gabe Sifuentes of Flushing will be two of six NYJTL students who beat out hundreds of others for the honor of serving as ball persons this year. Ball persons stand courtside at tennis games to retrieve stray tennis balls, replace old balls with new ones and do other tasks such as supply players with towels or bottles of water.

The competition to make it as a ball person is intense, with prospective candidates tested on how fast they can run and how far they can throw, among other qualifications. As part of the program, NYJTL requires all of its participants to try out for the prestigious summer job, in addition to daily 4-hour training sessions during the summer and fitness conditioning and training.

Yaloz, 14, has been playing tennis with NYJTL since she was 8 years old and has never been a ball person before. She is proud of her competitive spirit, which she uses to her advantage as a tennis player.

“I’m a big fighter; in any match, I’ll try to fight,” she said. “I like the feeling of winning.”

Sifuentes, 15, attends St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows and has been a ball person at the U.S. Open before and says that he learned a lot from the experience. He also used to attend the games every year with his family, even before he got the chance to actively participate on the courts.

“You can watch the pros deal with situations when they’re under pressure, so you can put [that experience] into your life and your tennis tournaments,” Sifuentes said.

Elena Bantovska, director of player development and competition at NYJTL, said that kids travel from all over the country to try out as ball persons, and the staff at the tennis center hoped that their students would be inspired by seeing their peers on the courts with the pros.

“It’s a huge experience to be on the court with one of your role models. That inspires them to do better and hopefully to compete on the grand stage as well,” Bantovska said.

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Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will kick off US Open with day of tennis and music


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

The 20th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, taking place on August 29 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is set to be an exciting, star-studded time for kids and parents alike.

The event will run from 9:30 a.m. till 4 p.m. and serves as the kickoff for the 2015 U.S. Open, which will take place from August 31 to September 13. Between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., families can enjoy a wide variety of free tennis games aimed at kids, listen to live music and partake in numerous other fun activities such as face painting, storytelling and a juggling workshop.

From 1 to 3 p.m., visitors can watch tennis superstars such as recent Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic show off their skills in exhibition matches and skill competitions, as well as live musical performances by up-and-coming artists Bea Miller, Kalin and Myles, Natalie La Rose, Jacob Whitesides and American Authors.

General admission promenade tickets for the event are on sale for $10, while loge tickets cost $25.

Presented by Hess, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day helps to promote youth tennis and encourages children of all ages to develop healthy habits through fun activities. It is also a day to remember the life and legacy of Arthur Ashe, a tennis legend and humanitarian.

“It’s a historic occasion for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, as we mark two decades of bringing the best in tennis and music together on a truly special day for families,” said Gordon Smith, USTA executive director and chief operating officer. “The event also captures the spirit and vigor of Arthur Ashe and is a fantastic way of encouraging youth to be active in tennis and life, while developing healthy habits early on.”

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Josh Groban to perform at US Open opening night ceremony


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of USTA

The U.S. Open’s opening night ceremony in Queens will once again feature a chart-topping singer, and the National Tennis Center’s namesake will also make a special appearance.

Multiplatinum-selling artist Josh Groban is scheduled to perform at the Monday, Aug. 31, event that kicks off the annual tennis tournament at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced Thursday. Groban, who just released his seventh studio album, “Stages,” this April, broke into the music scene in the early 2000s and has sold millions of records worldwide.

Joining him at the ceremony will be tennis legend Billie Jean King, who will be on the court to welcome fans to the opening night along with USTA Chairman of the Board and President Katrina Adams.

King won her first U.S. Open singles championship in 1967, going on to clinch three more titles. The USTA Tennis Center was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006.

This year’s U.S. Open will take place from Aug. 31 through Sept. 13 at the tennis center. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

The opening ceremony will be shown live on ESPN 2 as part of the network’s coverage of the tournament.

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US Open job fair to be held July 7 for Queens residents


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

For those whose summer plans aren’t already set, how about working at the U.S. Open for two weeks?

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) will be hosting its fifth annual U.S. Open job fair on July 7 and 8, and the organization is showing love to Queens residents by giving them the first crack at available positions.

The job fair will begin at the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Flushing on July 7 from 2 to 7 p.m., and will be reserved for Queens residents that day. The fair will be open to the entire public on July 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“For the two weeks of the U.S. Open, Flushing Meadows is the center of the sports world, and we’re delighted to once again to provide our Queens neighbors and tri-state residents with the chance to be part of the excitement and fun,” said Danny Zausner, COO of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Last year, more than 1,200 job-seekers from the five boroughs and the tri-state area came out looking for positions, which include guest services, facility operations, cooks, concession stand attendants, drivers, maintenance crew, security, cashiers and customer service representatives.

For those unable to attend the job fair, there will still be an opportunity to apply for positions. Applications at the U.S. Open will be accepted through August and details about the jobs can be found on the USTA’s website.

The 2015 U.S. Open will run from August 31 until September 13.

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Final steel beam installed for U.S. Open retractable roof atop Arthur Ashe Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The final steel beam for the Arthur Ashe Stadium retractable roof at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center was installed on Wednesday in a topping ceremony, culminating more than a decade of studies and planning to cover the U.S. Open’s main court.

The retractable roof is the centerpiece of a more than $500 million project to expand the tennis center, which includes two new stadiums and an expanded south campus. The roof, designed by Rossetti and built by Hunt Construction Group, is the first in the country to be constructed over an existing stadium, officials said.

“If you’re flying into LaGuardia, if you’re riding by on the Grand Central [Parkway], it’s looming, it’s huge, and it is the major piece, but we are doing much, much more,” said Gordon Smith, COO of the United States Tennis Association. “We are completely reimagining the tennis center. We want nothing less than the vision of this facility being the finest tennis venue in the world and the preeminent sports facility in New York City.”

In total, 5,000 tons of steel were used for the roof, which is held up by eight large columns around the 24,000-seat stadium. Because the roof doesn’t sit directly on the stadium, Arthur Ashe will still feel like an outdoor court when it is opened, and at the promenade level fans will still be able to see the Manhattan skyline, according to officials.

During inclement weather, the retractable roof will be able to close in five to seven minutes. The covering for the roof is expected to be installed after this year’s U.S. Open, and the structure will be functional for the 2016 U.S. Open.

In the coming weeks, the giant cranes that were used to build the roof’s frame will be removed and preparation for the 2015 U.S. Open will begin.

Also, four new LED scoreboards will be installed in the stadium and a fabric covering will be placed over part of the stadium to block “strange” shadows from the roof’s steel skeleton.

The USTA completed the first phase of its expansion plan last year, which included new courts 4, 5 and 6, and two-story viewing bleachers that created a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans. The elevated seating area holds more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 became the U.S. Open’s seventh television court.

The USTA also recently started construction on its new Grandstand Stadium at the south portion of the campus, which will have 8,000 seats, and replace the current 6,000-seat court of the same name that is connected to the Louis Armstrong Stadium. That new Grandstand Stadium will debut in time for the 2016 U.S. Open along with expanded walkways in the south area of the tennis center.

The smaller courts on the south portion of the campus will also be rebuilt next year.

Following the 2016 U.S. Open, the USTA will tear down and starting building a new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium. That stadium is currently planned to have a roof as well and is expected to be ready for the 2018 U.S. Open.

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Final steel beam for Arthur Ashe Stadium’s roof to be installed in June


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings and pictures courtesy of USTA

The $550 million project to expand the United States Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will reach a major milestone in a few weeks.

The USTA announced a topping ceremony for the new $100 million retractable roof on the 24,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium is set for June 10.

Despite weathering a brutal winter, construction on the roof has been moving according to schedule and the final steel beam with be installed on the roof’s skeleton during the ceremony.

The roof construction will halt shortly thereafter as the staff prepares for this year’s U.S. Open, which will begin on August 31.

The retractable roof is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 U.S. Open.

Last year, the USTA completed the first phase of the expansion plan, which included new courts 4, 5 and 6, and two-story viewing bleachers that created a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans. The elevated seating area holds more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 became the U.S. Open’s seventh television court.

The USTA also recently started construction on its new Grandstand Stadium, which will have 8,000 seats, and replace the current 6,000-seat court of the same name that is connected to the Louis Armstrong Stadium. That new Grandstand Stadium will debut in time for the 2016 U.S. Open along with expanded walkways in the south area of the center.

The smaller courts on the south portion of the campus will also be rebuilt next year.

Following the 2016 U.S. Open, the USTA will tear down and build a new 14,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium. That stadium is expected to be ready for the 2018 U.S. Open.

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Construction of roof for US Open progressing as planned over Arthur Ashe Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos and renderings courtesy of USTA

Construction of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) $100 million retractable roof for Arthur Ashe Stadium, which will eventually eliminate fears of rain delays at US Open tournaments beginning in 2016, is on track despite brutal winter weather.

Off-site manufactured steel beams for the roof are being brought to Flushing Meadows Corona Park and placed on top of the stadium using jumbo cranes, which can be seen rising way above Arthur Ashe.

They are using the giant cranes to assemble the roof on top of the existing stadium, because the National Tennis Center’s campus is crowded and difficult to maneuver in. And while workers have had to take the cranes down due to recent snowstorms and strong windy days, the roof should still be completed before the 2016 US Open as planned.

“We have committed ourselves to making sure the roof is in place by 2016 and we are going to keep to that. Obviously winter in New York City is not a new phenomenon,” National Tennis Center COO Daniel Zausner said. “While this winter has been rough just like last winter, we are going to have to make it up in the spring when the weather is hopefully cooperating.”


The roof, which was first announced two years ago, is part of a $550 million expansion of the National Tennis Center, which includes two completely new stadiums, and revitalization of the southern courts, all to be completed by the 2018 US Open.

The roof for Arthur Ashe will continue to see construction through July, when the USTA will stop to prepare for the 2015 US Open. Following the major tournament, construction will resume on the roof and should be completed by August 2016, in time for that year’s US Open.

The USTA also recently started construction on a new Grandstand Stadium, which will have 8,000 seats, and replace the current 6,000-seat court connected to Louis Armstrong Stadium. The new Grandstand Stadium is expected to be completed for the 2016 US Open as well.

All the smaller courts on the south portion of the campus will be also be rebuilt for the 2016 Open.

Finally, following the 2016 US Open the plan is to tear down and build a new 15,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium will begin. That stadium is expected to be ready for the 2018 US Open.

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PHOTOS: 2014 US Open


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

Take a look at The Queens Courier’s photo gallery from the 2014 US Open featuring pictures of the players, fans, including several celebrities you might recognize, and more. Check back later for additional photos from the tournament,

 

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US Open inadvertently shines a light on local soccer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

For many tennis fans the US Open is the closest thing to heaven.

The chance to watch the world’s premier tennis players battle for the country’s top title and partake in numerous tennis-related activities draws some 700,000 fans annually to the two-week sporting event in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But inadvertently, the Grand Slam literally shone a light on soccer as The Courier observed fans of the world’s most popular sport playing games under the lights of a US Open parking lot on Monday—the tournament’s opening night.

Soccer 1

The soccer players were of various ages and played mixed-gender pick-up games, complete with two white mini goals.

Anyone who frequents Flushing Meadows Corona Park knows how popular soccer is for local players and fans. On any given day—with appropriate climate conditions—the fields are occupied with soccer matches for various age groups.

The sport is so popular officials tried to build a 20,000 to 25,000-seat stadium in the park for a new MLS team. But park advocates fought to keep the stadium out.

Since the soccer fields don’t have lights, most stop playing when it becomes night time, according to players.

However, temporary lights have been set up in the US Open “H” parking lot near the New York Hall of Science as evening matches tend to run late into the night, giving Queens soccer lovers some extra playing time.

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PHOTOS: US Open 2014 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

Tennis and music stars collided on Saturday to bring a day filled with performances and fun activities at the 19th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.

While signaling the start of the two-week US Open in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the event featured performances from country superstar Hunter Hayes, duo MKTO, girl group McClain, British pop rock band The Vamps, teen sensation Madison Beer and DJ Salerno among others, as well as appearances from pro players Novak Djokovic and Sloane Stephens.

Besides the performances, there were a variety of tennis programs for kids to learn more about the game, such as courts with professional teachers, technology to test the speed of their serves and obstacle courses to challenge their agility and balance. There was also face painting, juggling performances and various other acts for children to enjoy.

 

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Wristband collects fans’ experiences at US Open tent


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

In case you’re at the US Open and wondering what those funky royal blue bracelets are that many people are wearing, they are called MyOpen Passes.

American Express brought the RFID-enabled wristbands to the Grand Slam for the first time, giving users a way to record their experiences in its tent without charge.

During the two-week tennis tournament, fans who enter the American Express Fan Experience area and use its stations will be sent an email with details and pictures of their activities via the wristband technology.

In the swing analysis station, for example, a machine measures someone’s impact position, racquet speed and spin rate, aiming to help players use that data to improve. The results will be sent to the fan through the bracelet.

To use the wristband, fans have to register for it when they enter the tent.

DTP_7309

Besides the swing analysis, fans can pose for images in a station called pro cam, where numerous cameras are mounted in a half-circle. The resulting image moves in 180 degrees, showing the photo from various angles.

And for those fans who want to take a picture with a pro player, but have not been lucky enough to meet one, rest assured, because there is also a station where fans can take a picture with a hologram of Sloane Stephens.

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Successful charity auction at LIC Flea, Ping Pong Open this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

The LIC Flea & Food saw great success this past weekend as the LIC Flea Charity Auction raised $1,000 for autistic and developmentally challenged children in Queens.

The popular Long Island City flea market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, held a charity auction on Aug. 16 with the duo known as The Locker Rockers and auctioneer John Luke of A&E’s “Storage Wars: New York.”

The Locker Rockers are made up of Cary “The Flipper” Zimbler and Thomas “The Nose” Preston. Just like in “Storage Wars,” the duo finds units that are being foreclosed or seized and they bid to win the contents of the storage containers. The duo currently has storage facilities of their own with items such as jewelry, furniture, sports memorabilia and antiques.
Auctioneer John Luke, born and raised in North Harlem, has been in the auction business for 15 years.

During the charity auction, the group auctioned off vintage and unique items they have found in storage lockers and also items furnished and donated by LIC Flea vendors Frittering Away, Jewel Dripped, Fiza Fashion, C3Brix, Bazaar à GoGo, Imran Jewels, A Spoonful of Brownies, Drink More Good, Razor Day, Queens Pop Photo and The Locker Rockers.

They were able to help raise $1,000 which will all go to support Life’s WORC, a private, nonprofit organization offering care for people with developmental disabilities in Queens and Long Island.

This upcoming Saturday, Aug. 23, the LIC Flea & Food will be holding its 2nd Annual Ping Pong Open just days before the US Open launches in Queens. Winners will get great prizes and bragging rights. To sign up click here.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be back on Sundays starting in September.

In Astoria, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios will only be open for two more Sundays at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue.
The flea market offers the best in food, drinks, antiques, clothing, art, accessories and much more.

Initially the Astoria Flea was expected to run for only eight consecutive Sundays starting in May, but it now will stay open until Aug. 31.

The market is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This weekend Astoria native DJ Johnny Seriuss will be spinning tunes once again at both flea markets.

 

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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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