James Reilly, a 33-year-old resident of New York City, was shot in the left thigh at the U.S. Open while viewing a third-round night match. This was the news that came out of the U.S. Open on September 4, 1977 as Mr. Reilly was shot while he was a spectator at the John McEnroe – Eddie Dibbs third-round night match at the U.S. Open at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.
The shooting, from a .38 caliber gun, occurred at the start of the match near Portal 8 in the north section of the stadium and delayed play for about six minutes as Reilly was taken from the stands to the first aid station and then to nearby St. John’s Hospital. Most of the 6, 943 fans in attendance were not aware that a shooting had occurred. Police concluded it was likely a shot that came from outside the stadium.
McEnroe wins the best-of-three set match 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. For more unusual happenings in the world of tennis, pick up a copy of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com)