The US Open officially gets underway Aug. 26. But for many aficionados, the fun really starts the week before as tennis buffs have the chance to go behind the scenes and get up close and personal with the stars.
“Fan Week gives us the opportunity to invite everybody to come to the home of the US Open and experience for themselves, at no cost, the highest level of professional tennis alongside a variety of other activities,” says Stacey Allaster, chief executive, professional tennis, United States Tennis Association, headquartered in White Plains. “Stepping onto the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, you will be able to experience firsthand the excitement of this great event and be able to watch the game’s greatest stars — names like Serena, Roger, Sloane and Rafa — practice from just steps away, while also watching up-and- coming players battle in the US Open Qualifying Tournament for the chance to play in the main draw. We know that the US Open serves as our greatest platform to inspire people of all ages to play and watch this amazing game and, by opening our doors during Fan Week and by enhancing the celebration with everything ranging from musical acts to a Net Generation Kids’ Zone, we are hoping to reach the next generation of tennis players and fans.”
The Qualifying Tournament, in which spectators may be watching the stars of tomorrow, takes place Aug. 19 through 23. Meanwhile, today’s stars will be on hand for practice sessions (Aug. 20 through 25) as those of yesteryear participate in Legends Exhibition Matches (Aug. 21 through 23).
The next generation gets its due with Net Generation Kids’ Zone, which puts rackets in youngsters’ hands and sets them out on the courts.
But it’s not all fierce forehands and two-handed backhands. There are happy hours (Aug. 20 through 23), concerts (Aug. 21 through 23), a Queens Day salute to the borough that is home to the Open and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (Aug. 21), a 5K Open Run (Aug. 22) and Open Pride (Aug. 22), an event in which former athletes and other notables will comment on the role of sports and, especially tennis, in and on the LGBTQ+ community.
It all culminates in Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day (Aug. 24), with top stars, music and exhibitions in memory of Ashe, the pioneering African-American player and Armonk resident, before the tournament begins in earnest.
For more, visit usopen.org