U.S. Open returns to Queens

| smosco@queenscourier.com |

With love, tennis returns to Queens.
The 2011 U.S. Open will again bring the sports world to New York’s most diverse borough with another display of athletic tenacity and skill at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing. The games, with qualifying tournaments under way this week, will officially kick off on Monday, August 29 and run through Sunday, September 11.
The action on the court will bring the very best the tennis world has to offer, with No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki firing aces at the likes of Vera Zvonareva, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and three-time open champion Serena Williams.
Unfortunately, not all of tennis’ female stars will shine this year – two-time defending champion Kim Clijsters pulled out of this year’s Open with a stomach muscle injury.
“Obviously I’m very disappointed,” she said. “I trained very hard this summer and felt in good shape to play the U.S. Open.”
On the men’s side, Novak Djokovic will stride into the Open as the No. 1 seed and as the favorite for the first time ever. He is the one with the look of a guy who is all but unbeatable when he’s on his game on the hard courts.
Djokovic will square off against other heavyweights Rafael Nadal, Andy Murrya, Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro. Djokovic will enter the Open with a 57-2 season record, similar to that of what John McEnroe had in 1984, when the American entered with only two losses on the season and stopped archrivals Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl en route to his fourth U.S. Open crown.
“He’s unbelievable,” said McEnroe of Djokovic. “There is no question about it that he’s a big favorite. When you have guys like Nadal defending the championship and Federer and Murray, who I assume should be hungrier than ever and more desperate than ever the way things have been going, I can’t say overwhelming, especially with the pressure that he’ll be feeling, but certainly a big favorite.”
Besides the action of the court, the Open will feature specials guest and an array of unforgettable performances. Among the performances, 14 talented vocalists, ages 12 and under, will perform patriotic-themed songs during 13 sessions at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
These children will join the group of music industry leaders who have performed at the U.S. Open, ranging from Rob Thomas and Aretha Franklin to Diana Ross and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Earth, Wind & Fire. This year’s opening night ceremony will feature a special musical performance by Taio Cruz.