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US Open set to serve 700K fans in Flushing Meadows

Fans and tennis crews gear up for opening night festivities during the 2011 US Open.
TimesLedger Newspapers

The US Open kicks off its tournament in Queens this weekend with the annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, which heralds two weeks of world-class tennis in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The United States Tennis Association holds the two-week tennis tournament at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and this year First Lady Michelle Obama is slated to attend Kids’ Day, which offers family fun and a chance for youngsters to learn more about the game and catch a glimpse of some top-notch players.

“We are thrilled the first lady will be joining us at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world,” said USTA President Dave Haggerty. “Her message of leading a healthy lifestyle is the perfect fit for this action-packed program that celebrates the life and values of tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.”

Two days later, tournament, which draws spectators from across the globe, will officially commence.

This year, Novak Djokovic is seeded No. 1 on the men’s side, while defending champion Serena Williams is ranked first on the women’s side.

Djokovic is followed by Rafael Nadal at No. 2 and defending champion Andy Murray at No. 3.

Last year’s men’s No. 1 seed and five-time singles champion Roger Federer is ranked at No. 7 after a shaky year leading up to the Open.

Behind Williams is last year’s top seed Victoria Azarenka, who lost to Williams into a tense final match last year. Maria Sharapova, the 2006 singles champion, was initially ranked No. 3, but dropped out Wednesday due to a shoulder injury. All of the seeded women moved up as a result, pushing Agnieszka Radwanska directly behind Azarenka.

The Open will again be offering some of the best food available at a sporting event at its food court, and will host musical acts including the borough’s own folk and pop band Astoria Boulevard, according to the USTA.

About 700,000 fans will come through the borough to watch the event, and this year the Queens Economic Development Corp., along with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, is trying to entice some of those visitors to shop and eat in the surrounding area.

The organizations recently unveiled the “This is Queens” mobile app to try to guide those unfamiliar with the borough to its most interesting destinations and delicious restaurants.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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