2009-08-26 / Editorials

Gazette Welcomes 2009 US Open To Queens

This year, once again, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing will be the seat of the tennis world when the 2009 US Open is held from Monday, August 31 through Sunday, September 13. This coming Saturday, August 29, Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, a full-day tennis and music festival for children and families, will kick off the US Open for the 14th consecutive year and for the eighth consecutive year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg will welcome the tennis world to New York as he participates in the opening night festivities.

When it began in 1881, the U.S. National Championships event was strictly limited to amateurs. In 1968, the tournament became "open" to both professionals and amateurs and changed its name to the US Open. In 1915, the West Side Tennis Club first hosted a precursor to the modern day US Open, the U.S. National Men's Singles Championships, marking the beginning of the special relationship between New York City and the sport of tennis. Today, the sport is truly "open"; the National Tennis Center hosts sellout crowds at all US Open matches and during the rest of the year area residents are welcome to play on its courts. Only during the two weeks of the US Open is the Tennis Center closed to public play.

Last year, more than 70 million viewers watched the US Open on cable television channels; international broadcasts reached 180 countries. There is every good reason to believe that the number of both tennis fans and the countries around the world where they will follow the tournament will be even greater this year.

New York City and the borough of Queens join in welcoming the 2009 US Open to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. During those moments of "down" time between matches we encourage visitors to enjoy the other attractions in the park, such as the Panorama of New York City in the nearby Queens Museum, Queens Theater In the Park and the Queens Wildlife Conservation Center, better known as the Queens Zoo. The Queens Botanical Garden is a short walk away, as are three historic sites, the John Bowne House, the Quaker Meeting House and the Kingsland Homestead, all of which were the scene of events significant in the history of New York and the United States as well. Also a short walk away are excellent restaurants offering cuisine to suit every taste and prices to suit every budget. The rest of the borough offers equally varied and colorful dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities.

Once again we welcome the 2009 US Open to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. We wish all the players well and salute all the loyal fans who will join in cheering them on. We hope the visitors to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will enjoy some of the delights that await them outside the Tennis Center gates as well as the vibrant and exciting sport that brought them here in the first place. For these two weeks they are part of our New York family. We are happy and proud to welcome them once again.

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