By Joe Anuta
The US Open will kick off a fortnight of tennis next week, where the No. 1 men’s player will take on last year’s defending champion, a top-ranked competitor will watch from the sidelines and the world’s best women will go head-to-head for nearly $2 million in prize money.
The United States Tennis Association is promising a spectacle at the Aug. 27 opening ceremony at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which will include a video and light show and a concert by Jordin Sparks, a rising pop sensation who is starring in an upcoming film.
“It is only fitting that we feature world-class entertainment on the same court upon which we feature world-class tennis. We are thrilled to present our sport in an exciting new way,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA chairman and president.
The Open will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 9.
Roger Federer is currently considered the best men’s player in the world, and has five US Open singles wins to show for it. If he is victorious this year, he will set the record for most singles Open wins ever, according to the USTA.
But last year Federer was bested by Novak Djokovic, who beat the Swiss national in four sets to claim his first Open championship to date.
The two may face off in Flushing this time around, but the competition recently got a little less tough.
More than a week ago, Spanish player and No. 3-ranked Rafael Nadal announced that he would not be taking the court in this year’s competition due to knee injuries, which have often plagued the 2010 US Open winner’s career, according to a report in Reuters.
Former US Open champions Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro are also slated to compete.
On the women’s side, six former US Open singles champs are sure to make for some tough competition.
No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka will attempt to fend off Samantha Stosur, the defending champion. No. 2-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska is also on the docket to compete along with Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Clijsters, who won US Open titles in 2005, 2009 and 2010, will be making her final appearance at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to the USTA, as she has announced her retirement.
Both the men’s and women’s champions will take home $1.9 million in prize money, the USTA said.
But before the action begins Monday night, the USTA will host its annual Arthur Ashe Kids Day Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., where youngsters can meet some of the sport’s top professionals, watch musical performances and knock around a few tennis balls.
Tickets can be purchased at usopen.org, by calling 1-866-OPEN-TIX or by visiting the tennis center’s box office.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.