No Love for Tennis? 5 Reasons To Give The U.S. Open a Shot.
Experience City Life
The U.S. Open, held at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, is right in our midst. Here are some reasons you shouldn’t pass it by, even if you aren’t a passionate fan of the sport. This year’s tournament will run August 31 through September 13.
Because Everyone will Be There
The U.S. Open Tennis Championship actually has the highest attendance of any sporting event in the world. Just as Wimbledon draws the UK’s biggest celebrities, the Royal Family, the U.S. Open draws an incredible array of Hollywood, TV, music and sports celebrities. In 2014, celebrity attendees included Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani, Lindsey Vonn, Hugh Jackman, Michael Jordan, Kevin Spacey, Katie Couric, Sally Fields, Spike Lee, and many, many more.
Because It’s Fast and Lasts Into the Night
Professional tennis players serve the ball at speeds that make an MLB fastball look sluggish. Top men’s serves can be upwards of 140 mph and top women’s serves are upward of 120 mph. That gives some perspective on the skill and reflexes of the players who return those serves. All of the courts at the USTA Tennis Center are well-lit, so play can extend into the night, making prime time TV coverage of matches possible.
Because There Are No Losers
U.S. Open singles winners each take home a cool $3.3 million (and to the credit of the USTA, the U.S. Open was the first major to offer equal prize money to women and men). Every match does indeed eliminate a player, but even players losing in the first round take home $39,500 for their efforts - not too shabby. Total prize money for the event is a staggering $42.35 million.
Because This One’s For the History Books
The “Grand Slam” is tennis’ premier achievement. A player must win all four of tennis’ major events (the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open) in the same calendar year. Only three women and two men have done it, the last in 1988 (Steffi Graf). With a singles win at the U.S. Open, Serena Williams, arguably tennis’ greatest-ever female player, would become the fourth woman and sixth person to accomplish the feat. Not only would a win at this year’s U.S. Open give her a Grand Slam, it would tie her for the greatest number of major tournament victories by a female tennis player with 22 wins.
Because You Love an Underdog
For almost 10 years, Swiss player Roger Federer was virtually unstoppable. He won 17 major titles from 2003 to 2012 and was ranked the number one men’s player in the world for 302 consecutive weeks. From July 2013 to January 2014, his world ranking moved steadily from 5th down to 8th. A back injury and the birth of his second set of twins seemed to have knocked him out of the top rankings for good. Yet in 2014, he began an unexpected turnaround at age 31. He was the runner up at Wimbledon in 2015 and there are many who would love to see this former champion come up with the upset and take one more win in a major tournament.
Cap off or begin a day of unforgettable tennis with an unforgettable meal at The Benjamin’s restaurant, The National, where you’ll find locally sourced ingredients combined in surprising and inspiring ways by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian. We can give you five great reasons for that too: 1) the signature Royal Sangria cocktail served at brunch, with Pavan French Muscat liqueur, Dorothy Parker gin, Yuzu, fresh berries, ginger & mint, 2) grilled branzino (sea bass) with fennel puree, ale, golden raisins and olive salsa 3) roasted chicken with herbed fregoula, salt roasted onion and lemon yogurt, 4) banana pancakes with candied pecans and honey butter (in case you want to show your support of the athletes by carb loading), and 5) the “ugly” burger with pickled jalapeno, housemade pickles, Bibb lettuce and the National’s special sauce. Take a look at the menu for yourself and book a reservation.