What’s new at the 2008 US Open?

The USTA announced a series of expanded fan enhancements and new programming for the 2008 US Open last week.  New enhancements include a special Opening Night 40th Anniversary celebration featuring US Open past champions Monday night, a series of “green” initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the US Open, expanded US Open merchandise shops in New York City, a digital channel, and a new US Open ticket exchange system.

Returning innovations include anthem performances by children 12-and-under; live US Open telecasts at Madison Square Park presented by American Express and Rockefeller Center ; instant replay with player challenges; the US Open Champions Invitational, and the US Open Court of Champions attraction. Due to significant fan demand, American Express will bring back handheld video devices that allow fans to watch multiple matches and live television broadcasts while on-site and Grey Goose will expand last year’s “Honey Deuce” souvenir glass promotion.

Special Opening Night Ceremony: A ceremony paying tribute to the 40th Anniversary of tennis’ Open Era will feature a parade of more than two dozen former US Open singles champions and will highlight all 40 US Open singles champions in the 40 years since 1968. The ceremony will be hosted by the Oscar-winning actor/director Forest Whitaker and will feature musical performances by the Tony Award winning Jersey Boys, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Earth, Wind & Fire.

Green Initiatives:  The USTA has announced an increased commitment to high-impact, long-term environmental initiatives at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center , home of the US Open.  Key programs include a plastic and aluminum guest waste recycling initiative, wind energy Renewable Energy Certificates to offset the US Open’s electricity consumption, an organic clothing line featuring t-shirt designs by Heidi Klum and Billie Jean King and a fan awareness campaign which includes player PSAs that will premier on Opening Day.

YouTube US Open Channel: YouTube, the video-based internet website, has created the US Open Channel (www.youtube.com/usopen). Content will include daily updates from the US Open, including post-match player interviews, an “Explore the Open” feature, an “Off Court Spotlight” feature, and an “Inside the Media Center” feature.  During week two, the website will also feature a daily Junior Report on the Junior US Open.

Live at the Open Presented by American Express: USOpen.org will stream hourly shows during each day session highlighting the latest news and information from the tournament grounds. In addition, each program will offer a look back at memorable moments in US Open history, and fans will be able to submit questions to the show’s hosts and guests.  The shows will also be available on-demand.

Multi-Purpose Indoor Facility: The new 245,000 square foot Indoor Tennis Facility is slated to open in late fall of 2008 and will feature 12 tennis courts, a fitness center, a full-service pro shop, a US Open superstore, a fan-friendly SmashZone (full of interactive games and events) and space for the American Tennis Hall of Fame. The new building will increase year-round access for tennis players to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center , the world’s largest public tennis facility.

JUVÉDERM® Decades of Smooth Lounge: At the Decades of Smooth lounge located in the South Plaza , fans will have the opportunity for free massages, ticket upgrades and meet-and-greets with tennis champions Lindsay Davenport and Tracy Austin. Additionally, at various times throughout the tournament, top NYC physicians will provide lounge visitors complimentary facial consultations, and, if qualified, a certificate for a complimentary JUVÉDERM® treatment following the tournament.

Kids Nightly Anthems: An instant tradition at last year’s US Open, children who auditioned at the US Open casting call held at Radio City Music Hall in early June will perform on Arthur Ashe Stadium. Out of the 189 children who tried out, 20 were selected to perform on center court from the New York metro area in addition to Florida, Washington, D.C., and Alabama. A special feature this year, two family acts will take the stage together — five brothers ages 7 to 12 from Rockville Centre, N.Y., and two sisters ages 6 and 10 from Brooklyn.

New Champions Invitational Format: As part of the 40th Anniversary celebration of the Open Era, the 2008 US Open Champions Invitational format has been modified to include two special singles matches between former champions to be named.  These matches will be staged during the second week on Thursday night and/or Saturday night.

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