Tag Archives: us open

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.”


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


What can you bring to the US Open

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Safety is one of the highest priorities at the US Open. Several important security measures will be implemented, in conjunction with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies:

1. Arrive early to avoid delays and help speed the entry of all spectators.

2. All fans will go through a screening process before passing through the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center entry gates.

3. There will be a limit of one bag per person admitted onto the grounds.

4. All bags are subject to search and cannot be larger than 12″W x 12″H x 16″L.

5. There will be no bag storage on the grounds. For a nominal charge, there is a bag storage facility outside the grounds.

6. Speed lines for those fans without bags will be available at all gates.

7. The following items are prohibited and MAY NOT be brought onto the premises:

• Backpacks

• Hard coolers or like containers

• Sealed packages of any kind

• Bottles or cans (glass or metal)

• Aerosol cans or noisemaking devices

• Alcohol

• Video cameras or recording devices

• Computers or laptops

• Food (except in limited quantities, or for medical, dietary or infant purposes)

• Weapons

• Animals (unless a service animal)

• Flags, banners or signs

• Any materials constituting unauthorized advertising or promotion

• Laser pointing devices

• Tennis racquets

• Any other items deemed inappropriate or dangerous by the US Open personnel, in their sole discretion


US Open to hold job fair July 12

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

For the second year, the US Open will hold a job fair on July 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m (gates will close at 3 p.m.), at the US Open Club. Those hired will help out at the annual tennis tournament that takes place August 27 through September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing. About 700,000 visitors are expected to come this year.

There are openings for a range of positions and skill sets. These jobs include box office customer service reps, cleaners, retail sales, van drivers, cooks and rest room attendants.

Perspective employees can also apply online, and applications will be accepted through August. Applicants must be available to work every day of the tournament.

For more information about the job fair and positions, visit www.teamusopentennis.com.


Ballperson here I come!

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Picture 130w

I just wanted to prove I could still play ball.

Although I’m a reporter — and four years removed from competitive sports, since the last time I played baseball was in high school — an opportunity to participate in the U.S. Open media ballperson tryouts on June 21 meant a chance to show I’m still athletic.

While watching the U.S. Open every year I inevitably notice the ballpersons scurrying around the court like squirrels, fielding balls as discreetly as possible and returning them to the players.

I thought this should be simple enough for me, who has played sports all his life.

Brimming with confidence, I listened to Tina Taps, U.S. Open Ballperson director, give the instructions on how to correctly field the ball to the group of media personnel gathered at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

She said to sprint to the loose balls, and sprint back to the closest side. Then throw the ball with high arches to clear players and make sure it bounces once to ballperson team members.

It was supposed to be easy for me, but for some reason that feeling of anxiety that scares Little Leaguers from making the right play at crunch time came over me when it was my turn. And surely enough, I screwed up from the get-go.

“Sprint,” yelled my evaluator, Cathie Delaney. I was running too slowly.

“That ball was a little off target,” she said. My throw was too wide.

Maybe once or twice I considered it would be cool to be a ballperson in the past, but I never seriously wanted to try out, because it seemed too simple.

But here I was looking dreadful. Before my turn came to try out I remember watching the other reporters from companies like ESPN and Newsday, dressed in athletic gear, and I wanted to look better than them.

My pride was on the line, so I picked up the pace.

I began full-out sprinting to my spots and gunning the bright, green balls as if someone was stealing second, while still keeping the bounce.

After my turn ended and I approached Delaney, out of breath from just 10 minutes of running and throwing.

I asked how my tryout was and she replied, “You could do it,” Delaney said “But you aren’t actually available, are you?”

Just the thought that I would be accepted was good for me, but to make it even better I was complimented.

“You looked good out there,” said a female Newsday reporter as I walked away from the courts.

My pride was intact, but not my colleague’s.

Terence Cullen, my fellow reporter, beaned another participant in the head, knocking his hat clear off.

There’s always next year, Terence.


Hundreds try out to be U.S. Open Ballperson

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Terence Cullen

Some had never been on a tennis courts, others had only seen a video of what they were about to do. They came from either end of the Island — hundreds of them — for only about 80 spots. They sprinted after dribbled balls, with the pressure of knowing the entire world could potentially watch them do this.

Almost 500 people of all ages came to the U.S. National Tennis Center on Thursday, June 21 to see if they had what it takes to be an official U.S. Tennis Ballperson. The try-outs came in the midst of the summer’s first heat wave, but officials said it gave a glimpse at what late August — when the U.S. Open takes place — would feel like.

Luca Bozzo, from Park Slope, came with his parents to not only seek a summer job, but for the unique experience.

“It would be really cool to be part of the U.S. Open” he said. “To get to see the players up close, that would be a tremendous thing.”

Luca, 15, said he wasn’t much of a tennis player, but enjoyed watching it on TV — listing superstar Roger Federer as one of his favorites.

The program, which employs about 80-90 people ages 14 and up, is an experience that lasts in the memories of those who take part, said Tina Taps, director of the U.S. Open Ballpersons.

The veterans who have taken part for several years cannot wait for the National Championship to start, Taps said, and compare its start to a countdown for school to end.

“They can’t wait to do it again,” she said, “and what’s wonderful about that is they mentor the younger kids.”

Taps said she was not concerned about the weather — trainers were on call and water coolers had been set up around the center — and instead thought it would give the potential ballpeople a glimpse of what the actual open weather would be like.

“The heat is a good thing because this is what it’s like during the tournament,” she said “So if they can handle it today, they’ll know what they’re up against in terms of heat.”

Jacob Uihlein came all the way from Centerport, Long Island to try out for a spot. Uihlein, 37, said his friend, who works at the Open every year, recommended the night before that he try out.

“I never really knew there were try outs,” he said.

An lover of the outdoors, Uihlein said he wasn’t too concerned about the near-100 degree weather affecting his abilities.

“I should’ve put on some sunblock,” he mused, as beads of sweat dripped from his chin.


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.”