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U.S. Open

The Net Post

Defending US Open Champ Rafa Tells His Story

Friday, September 02, 2011

The U.S. Open bookshop in Queens is chock-full of autobiographies by tennis's greatest champions -- Serena Williams, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe , among them. And now there’s a new book on the shelf, “Rafa: My Story,” written by defending U.S. Open champ Rafael Nadal and veteran writer John Carlin.

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The Net Post

Queens Threads: Having a Ball With Stylish Tennis Duds

Thursday, September 01, 2011

As hard as it may be to imagine, there once was a time when women’s tennis wear was a trendsetting fashion. From the 1950s through the '70s, a Ted Tinling dress was simply a must-have for any woman with style.

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The Net Post

Venus Williams' Stunning Default Follows Disappointing Season

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Venus William, a former world No. 1 and a two-time winner of the U.S. Open, bowed out of the tournament at the end of a disappointing season — the 31-year-old is currently ranked No. 33 in the world in singles and has been plagued by injuries for at least the past two years. But fans were sad to hear the news.

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The Net Post

At the US Open, Food Fit for a President

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chef Jim Abbey is the U.S. Open's No. 1 chef — he's been the chief executive of food for the Open for six years. And over the course of the 20-day tournament, Abbey and his 250-plus culinary staff will feed more than 700,000 fans at 60 concession stands, five restaurants, 100 luxury suites and the Player’s Lounge.

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The Net Post

Ruin in the Forest: A Stadium Once Fit For the US Open Falls Into Disrepair

Monday, August 29, 2011

Once home to the U.S. Open, the iconic Forest Hills Tennis Stadium where the first African-American won a major tennis championship and women first earned equal prize money is now a crumbling ruin.

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The Net Post

The US Open Takes Center Stage in NYC

Monday, August 29, 2011

The U.S. Open, the final tennis major of the year, begins in New York City at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday despite minor damage from Tropical Storm Irene.

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Transportation Nation

Want To Take Transit To U.S. Open? Think Again

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Courtesy of Matt Bush

(Washington D.C. - WAMU) The U.S. Open golf tournament is set to begin next week at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. - just a few miles outside of the nation's capital. Thousands of fans are expected to attend, but as WAMU's Matt Bush reports, the tournament's organizers are providing them with a strong disincentive to use public transit.

For other large events in the D.C. region, Metrorail is usually the preferred option for attendees because of its convenience. But next week, that may not be the case. In addition, taking Metro will actually cost you more.

Metro fares will be the same, but if you take the train you also have to pay for a shuttle bus to the golf course. Reservations must be made for the buses, which will run from the Grosvernor-Strathmore station on the Red Line. They're $8 for a day or $35 for the whole week.

"Metro is not as convenient for this event as it is for other events, such as those down on the National Mall, where Metro stations are right there," says Emil Wolanin, chief traffic engineer for Montgomery County.

Wolanin says using the public parking lots in Gaithersburg is the best way to go, adding that if fans can, they should carpool. Parking and shuttle buses are free to and from those lots. All fans will have to undergo security screening, and Wolanin says it will be easier to do that at the public parking lots.

But if driving or Metro is out of the question, Wolanin says there are other options.

"There are some RideOn and Metrobus routes that go by the area. If you're inclined to come by bike, you can't take your bike into Congressional Country Club, but there will be some bike racks where you can lock up your at the taxi and limo drop off," Wolanin says.

As many as 50,000 are expected to attend each day of the four-day tournament.

Wolanin saw firsthand what the tournament can do to a congested area when he attended the tournament two years ago at Bethpage State Park on Long Island, in New York.

Wolanin and other county officials went to that Open to get a head start on preparations for 2011. Rainy weather marred the tournament, and taught Wolanin and others the importance of parking.

"There was a lot of mud, a lot of wet fields that parking was on," he says. "The USGA looks for paved parking. If you lose the field, you lose the ability to park people."

That's why the main public parking lot for next week's U.S. Open, Crown Farm in Gaithersburg, was laid with crushed stone to prevent the problems seen on Long Island. The lot that was used the last time the U.S. Open was at Congressional is now the Universities at Shady Grove.

Wolanin says that won't be the only change from 1997. There will be more people in attendance here this time around, but not necessarily fans.

"What they call the 'outside-the-ropes' footprint," he explains. "The media, the concessions, the corporate sponsors -- all that has about doubled since 1997." Hundreds of employees and volunteers are being shipped up to Congressional for the event. Predicting the event's attendance is difficult, but officials in California estimated that 275,000 people attended last year's tournament in Pebble Beach, Ca.

But the man most responsible for golf's increased popularity since then -- Tiger Woods -- won't be there. He decided this week not to play this year because of injuries to his left leg.

-Matt Bush

For more on the U.S. Open, listen to stories at WAMU by clicking here or here.

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WNYC News

US Open: Wheelchair Player Gets 376th Win

Thursday, September 10, 2009

by Nate Chura

As you marvel at the power of Serena Williams’ forehand, or the graceful footwork of Roger Federer, please also consider the agile wheelchair moves of Esther Vergeer.

Early Thursday afternoon, at Louis Armstrong stadium, the 28-year-old from the Netherlands extended a 376-match winning streak, defeating France’s Florence Gravellier, 6-2, 7-5, in the quarterfinals of the US Open Women's Wheelchair Singles.

Vergeer is the winningest wheelchair tennis player in history. The last time she lost a match was in January of 2003.

Highlights from her playing career include winning the Paralympics three times (2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing). She also took the US Open Women’s Wheelchair Singles title three times. Vergeer was the World Wheelchair Champion nine years in a row, from 2000-2008. Her career singles record is a staggering 571-25. Yes, she’s the number one wheelchair player in the world.

For those who don’t follow wheelchair tennis, the ball can bounce twice. You would hardly know this watching Vergeer and Gravellier. The ball seldom bounced twice as the athletes zipped across the court like laser beams. Gravellier is actually an effective net rusher with a fine volley. Unfortunately for the French woman, she ran up against Vergeer.

Watch Vergeer forehand in action:

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WNYC News

US Open: Oudin Undone

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last night the hearts of 24,881 tennis fans inside the sold-out Arthur Ashe stadium in Queens -- and the dreams of ESPN and Tennis Channel executives -- were crushed as 17-year-old American Melanie Oudin was ousted from the US Open.

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki tossed the Georgia peach from US Open prime-time, 6-2, 6-2, in 88 minutes.

The girl who captured fans' imaginations with wins over Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova, and Nadia Petrova was gracious in her goodbye.

“Caroline played a good match,” Oudin said. “She’s such a strong player."

She said her new role as America"s sweetheart didn't factor into her error-filled game. "These past two weeks have been really different for me. I’ve gone from being just a normal like tennis player to almost everyone in the United States knowing who I am. I enjoyed it, but I don’t think that affected my tennis game tonight at all.”

Listen to Oudin reflect on her US Open run:

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WNYC News

US Open: Bryans Double Out

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

by Nate ChuraThe world’s #1 doubles team, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan, lost their bid for a second consecutive US Open doubles title Wednesday. The defending champions were bounced from the semifinals by the 4th seeds Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(6).

“It was a little frustrating to lose 7-6 in the third,” Mike Bryan said after the match. “It came down to the wire and it could have gone either way. We had a few break points there in the third set, which I thought we could have got, but I’ve gotta tip my hat to them. They played well when it counted. Leander was quick at net. Dlouhy served really well. He was hitting the lines. But we’ll be back next year and give it our best shot.”

The momentum first slipped away from the Bryans at 3-all in the first set, when Dlouhy/Paes broke the Bryans at 30-40 on Mike's serve. Dlouhy threw up lob return and Mike sent the forehand long. That stroke of good fortune was all Dlouhy/Paes needed to consolidate the first set.

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WNYC News

US Open: Off With His Head

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

by Nate ChuraOn match point, Croatian and world #17 Marin Cilic served a bomb down the T of the ad court service box to cut off the hopes of Scottish-born Andy Murray of making a run to a second consecutive US Open final. Brits everywhere are in mourning. The ace was 1 of 10 in the match and the nail that sealed the coffin in the world #2’s straight sets round of 16 loss, 7-5, 6-2, 6-2, on Arthur Ashe stadium.

In a post-mortem, Murray couldn’t put his finger on exactly what gripped him on court. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just couldn’t get myself into enough return games and couldn’t quite find a way to get myself back into the match.”

Cilic broke Murray five times in the match to advance to his first-ever Grand Slam quarterfinal. After the match, he spoke about beating one of the hottest players of the summer season.

“I mean I’m feeling tremendously happy,” said Cilic. “Of course it’s the biggest result for me so far. Now that I don’t have this blockade in my head, I can look forward, and, of course, focus on the next matches.”

Murray walked onto Ashe the leading hard court player of the season, having won 37 matches on the surface this year. It was his 6th consecutive appearance in the round of 16 of a major slam. Murray also lead Cilic in their career head-to-head, 3 to zip. But when all is said and done, the numbers had little meaning once the players stepped onto the court.

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WNYC News

US Open: Diversifying the USTA

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ten years ago, Serena Williams, all of 17, won the US Open at Flushing Meadows, Queens. in doing so, she became the first African American woman since Althea Gibson in the 1950's to win a Grand Slam. Her older sister Venus followed in 2000 with her first of five Wimbledon ...

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WNYC News

US Open: A Suite With a View

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

by Nate ChuraThe view from Suite 136 in Arthur Ashe Stadium this afternoon was worthy of a luxury box. On the blue court below, close enough to hear every grunt, were the American doubles juggernaut, Mike and Bob Bryan, taking on Australians Carsten Ball and Chris Guccione.

One person enjoying the occasion was Dina Moscowitz from Forest Hills. She lives near the West Side Tennis Club, where the US Open was held from 1915 to 1978. Moscowitz went to the US Open at the faded gem, but prefers her view from the box at Ashe.

Listen to what Moscowitz says about suite living at the Open:

Despite its number, Suite 136 is one of only 90 luxury suites in the house. Each one has an attendant to care for the needs of its guests. The chief attendant in Mrs. Moscowitz’s suite is Chris French.

Listen to French describe his job:

Meanwhile on court, the Bryan brothers, the #1 doubles team in the world, muscled past Ball and Guccione to clinch the quarterfinal contest: 6-4, 7-6(2).

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WNYC News

US Open: Georgia on My Mind

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

by Nate Chura Ray Charles said it best. Georgia was on the minds of American tennis fans on Day 8 of the US Open in Flushing Meadows, Queens this Labor Day.

After back to back upsets against the fourth seed Elena Dementieva and former US Open champ Maria Sharapova, seventeen-year-old Melanie Oudin, of Marietta, GA, continued the trend, besting 13th seed Russian Nadia Petrova to advance to the quarterfinals of her first ever Grand Slam. The final score was: 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3.

Oudin got off to a sluggish start, losing the first set in 31 minutes, but quickly took a 2-0 lead in the second. However, the Russian would not give up easily. Oudin had to fight hard to reverse the momentum that had accumulated in the more experienced Petrova's favor. It took a lot of hustle and composure under heavy fire for the upstart to stay in the match. But each point Oudin won bred more inner belief and the large, excited crowd in Arthur Ashe stadium also threw her a lifeline. Eventually, the American found herself up 5-0 in the tie break before she closed out the second set. Oudin allowed Petrova just two points.

Oudin continued to roll in the third set, breaking Petrova in the first game. But Petrova broke Oudin right back. In the fifth game, with Petrova serving at deuce, Oudin hit a deep slice backhand -- a shot she's taken from retired Slam champion Justine Henin's toolbox -- and it caught Petrova by surprise, chipping the back of the baseline. The rattled Russian double faulted on her next serve to hand Oudin a break, and a 3-2 lead.

From that moment on, the momentum was all Oudin's. Petrova's play turned sloppy. She overcooked an overhead at 15-40, serving at 2-4, to give the unseeded teen a second break. Oudin served it out, finally winning on her third match point.

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WNYC News

US Open: Tennis Apprentice

Saturday, September 05, 2009

by Nate Chura

If television were ever to consider a tennis version of the hit NBC reality series The Apprentice, a different Donald would host the show…Donald Dell.

Dell is a former US Davis Cup captain and founder of Pro Serv Sports Management Agency, one of the first full-service sports ...

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WNYC News

US Open: How To Survive the US Open (Fan, Not Player)

Friday, September 04, 2009

A record 37,388 fans attended Friday's day session. That's Jurgen Melzer serving.

A record 37,388 fans attended Friday\'s day session. That\'s Jurgen Melzer serving.

Attending the US Open can be a bit like spending the day in Grand Central Terminal. It ...

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WNYC News

US Open: Stringer for the Stars

Friday, September 04, 2009

by Nate Chura

Last night’s double feature on the main stage of the 2009 US Open included appearances by Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick. In between points, the tennis stars occasionally looked to their player’s box. Maybe they were seeking approval from a coach or family member, or maybe they were assigning blame. We’ll never know for sure, but one man who was definitely responsible for the matches under the Virgo moon was Australian, Glen Flint, stringer for these particular stars.

Flint is the full-time traveling stringer for Roddick, and, at the major slams, he is Sharapova’s racquet technician as well. And he is a technician. A stringer at this level isn’t just pulling polyester threads through the holes of a racquet’s head. A stringer like Flint tweaks and manipulates these space-age instruments so that they are, as he says, “an extension of the player’s arm.” Listen here for more:

Listen to what Flint does to Roddick’s and Sharapova’s sticks:

For the day session, Dinara Safina narrowly escaped extinction yesterday for the second time in the tournament. She prevailed in three sets over Kristina Barrois of Germany, 6-7, 6-2, 6-3. By the end of the match, the Russian served 15 doubles faults and committed 38 unforced errors.

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WNYC News

U.S. Open Gets Greener

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The USTA bought 500 recycling bins, enough to put right next to every garbage can on U.S. Open grounds.

The USTA bought 500 recycling bins, enough to put right next to every garbage can on U.S. Open grounds.

Over the course of its two-week run in Queens, the U.S. Open tennis championships are believed to generate about $420 million in economic activity for New York City. That's according to an eight-year-old estimate by the city comptroller's office. Many sports economists question such big numbers, saying they're overblown. But there's a different kind of influence the U.S. Open has that can't be overrated, and that's its effect on the environment.

GARZA: This grand slam is two weeks. We have 700,000 people come to this facility.

Rita Garza is senior director of corporate communications at the United States Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open.

GARZA: It's a lot of volume in a short amount of time.

That means lots of media, and their TV trucks and laptops, drawing energy. Hundreds of staff, printing out programs, stat sheets, and press releases. and thousands of players and fans, eating and drinking.

GARZA: We sell about 500,000 plastic bottles, between our water and our iced tea and Gatorade and things like that. And sell about 20,000 aluminum cans. That's a lot.

Garza and I are standing in one of the many hallways that lace through the guts of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the main showcase court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. She just finished showing me the loading dock, where the USTA has installed a new chute and compactor just for recyclables. It's done so because this year, for the first time at the U.S. Open, the USTA is setting out recycling bins throughout its entire 43-acre site, to collect plastic bottles and metal cans. In the past, the organization relied on its waste carting company to recycle, trusting it was picking the materials out of the garbage. Another first: the USTA is recycling the 18,000 to 20,000 plastic tennis ball containers used at the Open.

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WNYC News

US Open: Climbing Mt. Ashe

Thursday, September 03, 2009

by Nate Chura
At the top of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the view of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is surprising. It’s beautiful and has a calming quality. Yesterday, while Venus Williams was blasting her way through fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-4, 6-2, in the second round of the U.S. Open, I took the long hike up to row Z of the upper promenade. It's the highest point of the National Tennis Center. When I arrived I discovered I wasn’t the only one who thought the trip might be worth it.

Randy, a local twenty-something from Flushing Meadows, is a regular Ashe climber.

“The best part,” he says about watching matches from the nose-bleed section, “is you don’t have to turn your neck as much. You can have a view of the whole court without having to turn your neck left and right. And you can also see the ball where it hits the lines. Actually, the ump should be sitting up here rather than down there.”

Another fan soaking in the last remaining summer rays in row Z was, Lee Griffin from Australia, who currently lives in London, but was meeting up with her sister for a week of tennis in New York. Griffin found the surrounding views serene as she rooted for Williams to win the match.

Listen to Nate’s interview with fellow rooftop climber, Lee Griffin, at the top of Mt. Ashe.

“It’s a great vantage point to actually see a whole lot of the surrounding countryside,” Griffin said. “A bit difficult for the tennis, but good for the views.”

Down in the deep caves of Mt. Ashe, in Interview Room 1, Williams wasted no words after her victory over Mattek-Sands.

“I’m in the U.S. Open,” the older Williams sister said. “The U.S. Open, baby. I’m in the process of being in the third round. So I love it.”

At ground level, fans of the U.S. Open said goodbye to two of the game's most interesting personalities: former world number 1 and 2000 champion, Marat Safin, and Fabrice Santoro, who made his 69th Grand Slam appearance in New York.

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WNYC News

US Open: Day of the Underdog

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

by Nate Chura
Day Two of the U.S. Open came and went with the summer breeze. While the giants of the game like Serbian, Novak Djokovic, and Russian, Elena Dementieva, dismembered their first-round opponents in grand fashion on the featured show courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, there was another group of challengers gutting out a living on the outer ring of courts deprived of such lavish comforts as the Chase Review Hawk-Eye system.

When most people think of professional tennis players, they think of Maria Sharapova. She won her night match quite easily. Or they think of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, who hammered into submission yesterday 18-year-old Chase Buchanan, from Columbus, Ohio.

Mention the name Jesse Witten to most people, and be prepared for a blank stare. But on Court 7 yesterday, Witten, a 26-year-old tennis journeyman, made quick work of his opponent, too -- the 29th seed from Russia, Igor Andreev. It was the biggest win of Witten's career, taking only 97 minutes, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

Until then, Witten, from Naples, FL, had never won an ATP Tour level match, let alone advance to the second-round of a grand slam. Witten is currently the 276th ranked singles player in the world. He had to win three qualifying matches just to face Andreev in the main draw. Going into the tournament, Witten’s total prize money for the year was a whopping $19,284. And in case you’re wondering, there are no endorsement stipends on top of that. For winning his first-round match, Witten will receive $30,000, enough to keep the dream alive.

Witten played college tennis for the University of Kentucky, where he studied kinesiology. After the match, Witten was asked if he endorsed young tennis players going to college.

“I’d go back to college right now if I could,” he said. “I loved everything about it. There’s a couple guys, obviously, that can skip college and get away with it. But, I mean, there are so many guys that are at the mediocre level. There are so many guys that skipped college, and I know ‘em now and they kind of regret it. Actually, a couple of my friends are going back. I think it’s great.”

To hear Nate’s interview with Witten:

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