It’s basically the best tennis on Planet Earth, and it’s completely free with no long lines. The U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will begin tomorrow with 128 men and 128 women competing for 32 entries (16 men and 16 women) in the main draws. For four days, up-and-coming stars from around the world will battle each other at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and spectators can simply walk around and check out the matches. The circuit’s best players (i.e. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams) get direct berths into the main draw, but they might be on site, practicing for opening day on August 25th.
Details: U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, August 19th through August 22nd, 10 am to around 6 pm, free.
Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).
Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series.In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him. Check out more photos after the jump… (more…)
National Tennis Center officials announced that construction on the $500 million project for the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will begin in February and last through the U.S. Open, reports the Daily News. They plan to first install piles to help support a retractable roof planned for Arthur Ashe Stadium. Once the roof is installed, it will only be used in inclement weather and during winter months. Later plans include moving the grandstand to another area of the tennis complex, as well as expanding it, and moving seven other tennis courts to the south. The U.S.T.A will also take on an extra two-thirds acres of parkland and construct two new stadiums (after demolishing two old ones), add parking, and build a fan esplanade. According to the Center Chief Operating Officer Danny Zausner, “We have to host the Open each year, so we had to work on a construction schedule that’s longer than we would like.” City Council approved expansion plans over the summer and Cuomo approved the plans in September after the U.S.T.A promised to return 1.56 acres of land it’s used and donate $10,000,000 over the next 20 years to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.