Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ode to the U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is the fourth and final Grand Slam of each Tennis year, following the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.  It occurs at summer’s end in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York on the grounds of what once was the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs.


1964 New York World’s Fair

The Unisphere became the universal symbol of the New York World’s Fair and it’s grounds.   It is still the centerpiece of the park!


The USTA National Tennis Center opened in 1978 after then USTA President W.E. “Slew” Hester spotted Louis Armstrong Stadium from the air while flying into nearby LaGuardia Airport. 

Today the grounds are known as Flushing Meadows – Corona Park.  The view from above shows how large the park is.  It includes Shea Stadium; the Billie Jean National Tennis Center, home of the U.S. Open; a zoo; science museum; marina; two lakes; skating rink; soccer pitches; and cricket fields.  Some would be surprised to learn that it is larger than Central Park.


In 1995, Arthur Ashe Stadium replaced Louis Armstrong Stadium as the largest venue on the grounds.  Designed by Rossetti Architects, it is also the largest tennis-only stadium in the world!

Arthur Ashe Stadium

On August 28, 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center was rededicated as the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.  It is the largest and most prestigious facility of its kind to be named after a woman.

There are 22 tennis courts in the Billie Jean National Tennis Center and 11 more in the adjoining park.

Although the Billie Jean National Tennis Center is home of the U.S. Open, it is also open to the public for play 11 months out of the year.  The cost to the public is $16 an hour.  Each May, it also hosts the New York state high school tennis championships.

arthur ashe fountains  Fountains outside of Arthur Ashe Stadium

Last year, 720,227 people attended the two week U.S. Open events.  It is crowded with sophisticated and sporty people.


I recently had the great fortune of attending the U.S. Open!  We were there last Saturday.  I was excited to see my tennis heroes in their New York colors!

I got to see my favorite player, Roger Federer beat Lleyton Hewitt.  Here he is on the big screen being interviewed after his win in Arthur Ashe Stadium.


And after a big serve on the courts!


I ALMOST got his autograph!!!


Here is Maria Sharapova warming up for her match against the young American, Melanie Oudin.  Oudin beat her!


And Andy Roddick hitting a big serve against John Isner, who went on to beat him!


Here’s Melanie Oudin in tears after beating her idol, Sharopova.


… and me at the biggest venue in tennis!

US Open-profile

Congratulations to Kim Clijsters for winning this year’s US Open Women’s Singles title!  You know who I’ll be cheering for tomorrow night.  His initials are RF!

If you happen to be lucky enough to have a ticket for the men’s championship on Monday evening, check out these Ten Tips when visiting the U.S. Open.  You might find them helpful!


  1. I love tennis and your post is quite amazing. I have never seen anything quite like the Unisphere before.

  2. I was at the 1964 Worlds Fair. I didn't know they played tennis there now.

  3. After years and years of disrepair the area known as the New York World's Fair 1964, became a prime area for recreation. Unfortunately funds were short so the "Flushing Meadows" needed a helping hand. USTA stepped up with a need for siting the US Open and Bought a major part of the land. By smart use and development, the World's Fair Site was saved and the maintenance for the site was included in the USTA's agreement for the area, along with the City of New York.


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