Tag Archives: us open

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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Op-Ed: In need of community support


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY DANIEL ZAUSNER

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however makes a life.” Those profound words from the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe, which are enshrined at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, serve as a daily inspiration to us as we continue to strive to build better lives for youth in Queens through the sport of tennis.

During hundreds of annual community programs at the NTC, we host more than 100,000 participants of all ages, many of whom are from Queens. In addition, through our partnership with the New York Junior Tennis League, which was co-founded by Ashe, we have been changing the lives of children in Queens, providing them with the required tools to excel both on and off the court. The program reaches thousands of local youth annually, providing 70 public schools in Queens with free tennis equipment and direct mentoring/training opportunities for 15,000 students, as well as after-school programs.

The USTA also provides more than 5,000 free tickets to Queens-based community groups for Arthur Ashe Kids Day, which serves as the official kickoff event for the US Open Tennis Championships.

Indeed, the USTA is an active and vital member of the local Queens community, striving to develop the character of kids through tennis and education.

For nearly a century, the US Open has been held in Queens, and since 1978, it has taken place in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The US Open and NTC – whose indoor and outdoor tennis courts are open to the public 11 months of the year – have transformed the New York City sports scene, pumping nearly $750 million a year into the local economy and showcasing to the world that Queens is the center of it all.

However, despite this success, the NTC and US Open are now at a crossroads. A facility upgrade is vital to sustain the long-term viability of the NTC as both a world class spectator venue and top public recreational facility. To this end, we have developed a plan that is mutually beneficial to the people of Queens, the US Open and the NTC.

As we visualized the scope of the plan, we understood and respected the importance of preserving the park, and as a result, our design calls for the minimal amount of additional parkland possible, just 0.68 acres, to complete the needed upgrade to the facilities at the NTC.

The sliver of land in question is mostly an existing asphalt road and the city has determined that no replacement land is required. In lieu of replacing the land, additional park improvements will be made.

It should also be noted that all of the upgrades will be financed solely by the USTA without government financial assistance.

However, this Queens jewel needs public support to move forward, as it obtains the various approvals and land use permits required for these improvements in order to complete this project.

Not only will this plan preserve the NTC’s stature as a top public recreational facility and internationally renowned spectator venue but it will help us continue our tradition of bettering the lives of youth and the community as a whole.

Daniel Zausner is chief operating officer of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

 

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Parkland at center of MLS stadium project


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

DSC_0985w

Major League Soccer (MLS) officials presented plans for a 25,000-seat stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the Queens Borough Board on Monday, December 3.

But while the league promised the board that soccer would be a good neighbor to the community, questions arose regarding parking, access, replacement of the 10 to 13 acres of parkland that would be eaten up by the stadium.

Professional soccer could kick off as soon as 2016, should the project be approved, said MLS President Mark Abbott. He acknowledged this was a lofty but plausible goal for the league.

Abbott assured the board that seven of the nine existing recreational soccer fields would be completely refurbished before the first shovel breaks ground at the stadium site at what is now the Fountain of Planets. By making the borough’s largest park its home, Abbott said MLS is committed to investing in the park and “making it better for the people who use [it].”

“The idea is, we’re coming here to be a partner with the park.”

Roughly 20 to 25 games would be played at the stadium per season, Abbott said, which includes an average of 17 regular season home games. Although the stadium would be within earshot of Citi Field and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the league plans not to host any games when the Mets are playing, or during the two weeks of the U.S. Open, alleviating congestion.

Regardless, many are concerned that parking for games will spill into the neighboring community and disturb residents’ day-to-day life.

League officials are currently working with the Mets to reach an agreement to use their parking facilities — mainly the lot that used to be Shea Stadium — but do not have a time frame for when executives will sit down with Mets management, Abbott said.

But one of the biggest concerns was where the parkland would be replaced.

Abbott, fielding questions from board members and councilmembers, said MLS will not pick a site for the lost acres without getting full community feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’ve started to look at some sites, but that’s something we need the community’s input on,” Abbott said.

The league has set up several town hall meetings in or around the park to hear the community’s thoughts of where they would like to see new greenspace.

Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Mark Weprin agreed that before any official stance could be taken on the proposal, a dedicated, well-researched site for the new land has to be chosen.

“I don’t think we can responsibly take a position until we know all the details,” Vallone said. “Especially regarding what parkland would replace the park. This has to be parkland that effectively replaces and is as usable as this parkland is.”

Weprin said he was currently open minded to the idea, but many of the concerns first had to be addressed before any decision could be made.

“I think it could be great for economic development in the area,” he said. “But there are a lot of concerns that I would like to see addressed before we approve it. To reject it out right would be a mistake.”

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, however, hopes Queens residents will oppose the project, saying that any replaced land would never be the same as that lost to the project.

“These things are never of equal value, and never of equal usefulness,” he said. “And the community always gets ripped off.”

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.

 

U.S. Open dining options please both fans and foodies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of USTA

With over 700,000 fans expected to attend the U.S. Open, which started August 27 and lasts until September 9, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has a number of options to feed them.

At the tennis tournament there are 60 concession stands, five restaurants, the new Moët & Chandon Terrace, which features champagne and a full service bar, and several other food and drink offerings.

Though there will be game day favorites available, such as beer and hot dogs, the U.S. Open’s food and drink selection is more sophisticated and international than what you can get during most sporting events.

The Food Village is the U.S. Open’s main concessions area and serves cuisine from around the world—from Mexican to Indian, to Italian and Japanese—plus sandwiches, lobster rolls and half-pound burgers.

Other dining options include the new Heineken Red Star Café, the seafood and sushi restaurant Aces, steakhouse Champions Bar & Grill, Mojito Restaurant and Bar, which serves Latin cuisine, the Patio Café & Bar, which has a casual menu of salads, burgers sandwiches as well as specialty cocktails, and a wine and food bar featuring Mediterranean small plates.

Learn more about the U.S. Open food offerings.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 82. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon.Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 64. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Michael Jackson Birthday Bash 

“Do you Remember the Time” when you first saw the King of Pop’s slick moves literally glide across the dance floor? Do you remember singing the lyrics to “Billie Jean” at the top of your lungs? Or maybe, you laid in bed at night visualizing all the moves in the “Thriller” video. Either way, the music lives. On August 29, it is officially Michael Jackson Day at Resorts World Casino New York City. With MJX, the premier MJ Impersonator, and DJ Spinna on the ones and twos, it will be a night to remember.Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Dumping stops in Queens neighborhood

The work to restore this stretch of land along the Van Wyck Expressway is finally underway. It’s a welcoming sight for residents near 116th Avenue who remember what the area used to look like. Read more: NY1

Chain ladder breaks as kin flee fire

A Queens family desperately trying to escape a raging fire tearing through their home tried to use a chain-link ladder to escape — but it suddenly broke, forcing the five people to jump two stories Read more: New York Post 

Suspect charged with killing homeless man in Woodside

Police have arrested and charged Ramiro Martinez with the stabbing death of Enrique Morales Martinez on a street corner in Woodside, Queens on Sunday afternoon. Read more: NY1

CUNY considers constructing a Queens hotel

The City University of New York has retained Cushman & Wakefield Inc. to help the school determine if it should proceed with a plan to build a hotel in Long Island City, Queens, in order to expand its hospitality program. Read more: Crain’s New York

Isaac makes second landfall, levee overtopped in Plaquemines Parish

The center of Hurricane Isaac made a second landfall over Port Fourchon, La., early Wednesday, overtopping a levee southeast of New Orleans, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 400,000 homes. Read more: ABC News

Republican convention is in full-throated roar

The Republican National Convention is finally in full-throated roar, cheering presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s name at every turn in a long-sought show of unity and mocking the man he is out to defeat in November. Read more: AP

Venus Williams an easy winner in return to the U.S. Open, beats fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3, 6-1

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the American wearing a black cap over blue hair, blitzed compatriot Venus Williams early in their first-round match Tuesday, taking the first two games of the opening set. Read more: New York Daily News

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 88. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 66. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Zumba on the Beach

This is the last chance of the summer to take an evening Zumba class at Rockaway Beach. This free Shape Up NYC class is a fusion of Latin, International and popular music dance that features aerobic, fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body with easy to follow dance steps. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

LIRR worker fatally electrocuted in Queens

A Long Island Rail Road worker is dead after he came in contact with the third rail near the Queens Village station.The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says service was temporarily suspended around the area after the accident Monday morning. Read more: AP/Wall Street Journal

Drama brewing over axed arts program in Glendale

Encore! A coalition of parents, teachers and students are rallying behind a displaced Queens drama teacher to ensure this isn’t his curtain call. Theater teacher Evan Behlivanis, 31, was told in late July that his nine-year tenure at Public School/Intermediate School 119 in Glendale was coming to an end due to budget constraints. Read more:  New York Daily News

Tennis fans brave soggy start to U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is back up and running in Queens with scores of eager fans ready for action following a three hour and 15-minute rain delay earlier today. About 700,000 fans are expected to visit Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 20-day tournament. Read more: NY1

City has just one Parks Enforcement Patrol officer for all of Queens, union charges

The ranks of city Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are so thin that only one officer is available to patrol all Queens parks this summer, union officials charged. Read more: New York Daily News

New Yorkers want to throw Department Of Sanitation policy in the trash

New Yorkers are crying foul over a sanitation policy that they say needs to be trashed. “I think it’s crazy that without a warning or anything, it should have been a warning. Unless they’re trying to make money, which is what I think,” Raymond Jansson of Whitestone, Queens told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez on Monday night. Read more: CBS New York

Tropical Storm Isaac takes aim at New Orleans

Tropical Storm Isaac had nearly reached hurricane strength as it bore down on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday and appeared to be taking direct aim at New Orleans, almost seven years to the day since the Crescent City was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Read more: Reuters

Republican National Convention enlists first Sikh speaker

An American Sikh is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the first time the party has invited a Sikh to speak at a national convention. Read more: New York Times

 

 

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.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the morning, then overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 81. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 73. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT of the DAY: Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come to Astoria Park tonight for a free outdoor screening of “Footloose.” This will be the last free movie night in Astoria Park of the summer. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens father busted for endangering child

A heartless dad was busted for leaving his infant girl in a sweltering car Sunday. Robert Brown left his 7-month-old daughter in his red Mitsubishi outside a laundromat on Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

USTA pulls free US Open tickets for city politicians

The line judge has ruled: It’s out of bounds for city politicians and employees to take luxury seats compliments of the US Open. The US Tennis Association yanked all invitations to elected city officials and city employees last week because the Conflict of Interest Board quietly ruled that they can’t accept the freebies, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post 

Embattled Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley steered tens of thousands in campaign funds to her daughter and husband 

Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who is expected to be hit with corruption charges Monday, showered her daughter and husband with tens of thousands of dollars from her campaign kitty, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News 

Man who killed coworker outside of Empire State Building had been asked to leave his apartment

The man who shot and killed a former co-worker outside of the Empire State Building was not evicted, but was told to vacate his Upper East Side apartment so the landlord could make renovations, a police source told Reuters. Read more: CBS New York

Isaac could hit Gulf Coast as Cat 2 hurricane

Tropical Storm Isaac churned toward the northern Gulf Coast early Monday and promised to give the Republican National Convention a good drenching after lashing the Florida Keys and Miami area with wind and rain. Read more: CBS News

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist endorses Barack Obama in 2012 presidential race

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race. The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. Read more: Washington Post

US Open a big boost to Queens business


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Thousands of fans from across the country and around the world pour into the city at summer’s end to watch some of the world’s biggest tennis stars battle it out in the final leg of the Grand Slam.

The U.S. Open not only showcases the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, but a number of businesses as well — ranging from hospitality to landscape.

Keil Bros. Garden Center & Nursery in Bayside has done the groundswork for the national championship for more than 25 years, according to Russ Bodenhorn, the company’s general manager. The 82-year-old groundskeeping company works around the calendar on the Tennis Center’s layout, he said.

“As soon as this year’s open is over and completed, and they begin their clean up and tear-down process…we start planning for next year already,” he said. “We’ll sit down with the executives, the administration and say ‘what worked for you, what didn’t work?’”

The month-and-a-half leading up to the Open, the landscapers deal with the outdoor work, Bodenhorn said, with the last few days focusing on interior greenery in luxury boxes and hospitality stands.

The Open is a big boost to the economy citywide, he said, but is especially a plus for local, Queens-based businesses.

“Even just the local Flushing economy flourishes,” Bodenhorn said. “Tennis brings in an awful lot [of economic activity].”

A number of LaGuardia Airport hotels are also partnered with the Tennis Association to help handle the scores of fans coming in.

“It’s pretty much our busiest weeks of the year,” said Jim Norris, general manager of the Hampton Inn LaGuardia. “It definitely helps out this area.”

Over the last 10 to 15 years, Norris said he has seen a number of people return year after year to the hotels.

“They love it,” he said. “We have people that come back year after year.”

Daniel Zausner, managing director of the Tennis Center, said the U.S. Tennis Association not only partners with a number of Queens businesses, but many of those temporarily hired for the event live in Queens.

“We hire over 6,000 people [in total] each year for the tournament, some of them come in as early as February,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of those people are New York City based; over 40 percent of them are from Queens alone. You’re talking about 2,500 jobs just for Queens residents.”

As the Tennis Center will undergo renovations and expansions in the fall 2013, Zausner said the number of employees will potentially go up — as the center is expected to see an additional million visitors a day following the revamp.

“There will be a need to hire more people to work the events,” he said. “We’re all about supporting our neighbors. There’s a great benefit for us to use Queens residents.”

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.

 

Festivities, big names will kick off the US Open


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

The USTA has announced a dramatic opening night ceremony that will include an immersive video and light show for the first time, and a special performance by pop sensation Jordin Sparks. The ceremony will take place prior to the night session in Arthur Ashe Stadium, on Monday, August 27.

Sparks will perform “Celebrate,” the hit song from the movie “Sparkle,” in which Sparks stars alongside the late Whitney Houston, in Houston’s final performance. Houston opened Arthur Ashe Stadium 15 years ago with a performance of “One Moment in Time” in front of a sold-out crowd and some of the biggest names in tennis history. The video and light show will follow Sparks’ performance, and then Sparks will return to sing the National Anthem.

Sparks is a US Open veteran, having first performed at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day in 2009, and she is returning to host this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on August 25.

“Our goal is to take our Opening Night Ceremony to the next level and create a memorable moment for all of our fans in the stadium and those watching around the world,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President. “It is only fitting that we feature world-class entertainment on the same court upon which we feature world-class tennis. We are thrilled to present our sport in an exciting new way.”

For the 11th consecutive year, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg will “Welcome the World to New York” and to the US Open as part of the ceremony. Following Sparks’ performance, Vegosen will be joined on court by young people from the National Junior tennis and Learning Network who represent the future of tennis – the “Sport of Opportunity.”

The ceremony will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

 

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.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day preview


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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

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

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

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

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