west side tennis club

James Blake, Luke Jensen, Vince Spadea and Jan-Michael Gambill To Play Forest Hills Friday

Former standout tennis professionals James Blake, Luke Jensen, Vince Spadea and Jan-Michael Gambill will compete in a special one-day tennis tournament Friday, August 25 starting at 4:00 pm at the historic West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills in Queens, New York as part of the club’s 125-year celebration.

The tennis matches are part of a day-long celebration at the club, the long-time former home of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships and the site of the most ever U.S. Davis Cup matches. The public has the opportunity to play on the famed grass tennis courts, watch the pro tennis matches and a special anniversary ceremony at the Forest Hills Stadium, followed by a Gala dinner with entertainment and dancing.

Blake, the former world No. 4 and member of the 2007 championship winning U.S. Davis Cup team, will play Gambill, the former world No. 14 and also a former member of the U.S. Davis Cup team, in the first semifinal match at 4:00 pm. It will be followed by Spadea, the two-time U.S. Olympic team member and former world No. 18, taking on Jensen, the charismatic winner of the 1994 French Open doubles title, in the second semifinal. The winners of each semifinal will then compete in a championship match. Each match will consist of one FAST-4 set, first to four games, no-ad scoring and a tie-breaker at three games all.

Following the tennis, fans will also be able to stay for a special 125-year anniversary ceremony featuring USTA President Katrina Adams and International Tennis Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. The legacies of Jack Kramer, a two-time U.S. singles champion, and Maureen Connolly, the second player to win the “Grand Slam” of tennis in 1953, will also be honored with a banner raising ceremony at the famed Forest Hills Stadium, the site of their greatest triumphs, with each family being represented.

Tickets for the tennis tournament and the Anniversary ceremony – that includes an Open Bar – are $100, with $50 being a tax-deductible contribution to the West Side Tennis Club Foundation, the non-profit organization that helps introduce tennis to children and the physically challenged while also preserving the history of the West Side Tennis Club.. A $250 ticket ($125 tax-deductible) includes play on the grass tennis courts starting at 2 pm, including the tennis and ceremony viewing, and the Gala Dinner starting at 7:30. To order tickets, go to www.WSTCFoundation.org or by calling the West Side Tennis Club front desk at 718 268 2300.

The West Side Tennis Club was founded in 1892, then located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The private club moved to its current location in Forest Hills in 1913, where it hosted the U.S. National Tennis Championships (known as the modern-day U.S. Open since 1968) from 1915 until 1977. In addition the club has hosted a total of 16 U.S. Davis Cup ties, more than any other facility. The club features 38 tennis courts featuring four different court surfaces – grass, hard, red clay and Har-Tru – including the 13,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium that is now a popular concert venue. The club also features a junior Olympic-size pool, paddle tennis courts and its famous Tudor-style clubhouse. For more information on the club, including membership information, go to www.ForestHillsTennis.com

At Least The US Open Final Won’t Be Delayed Another Seven Days

It’s official. The US Open will finish on a Monday – at the earliest. For the second year in a row, rain has played havoc to the final weekend of the US Open and has pushed the tournament into a third week. Last year’s men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Murray, which started at 5 pm on the third Monday of the event, was the first Monday final since 1987, when Ivan Lendl defeated Mats Wilander to win his third straight U.S. title. However, as excerpted from my book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.TennisHistoryBook.com), the two most delayed U.S. finals were as follows…

From September 17, 1960 – In the most delayed conclusion to a major tournament in the sport’s history, Neale Fraser of Australia and Darlene Hard of the United States win the singles titles at the U.S. Championships – one week after winning semifinal matches to advance into the championship match. The U.S. Championships at Forest Hills are delayed a full seven days as Hurricane Donna slams New York and soggies up the grass courts at the West Side Tennis Club. Fraser finally defends his 1959 title, defeating fellow Aussie Rod Laver 6-4, 6-4, 10-8, becoming the first repeat men’s winner at Forest Hills since fellow Aussie Frank Sedgman in 1951 and 1952. Hard finally breaks through and wins her first U.S. singles title, upsetting defending champion Maria Bueno of Brazil 6-3, 10-8, 6-4. Fraser and Hard both win semifinal matches on September 10 – Fraser beating Dennis Ralston and Hard beating Donna Floyd – before the rains come. The Fraser-Laver final is a rubber match for the two Aussies, who split their two previous meetings in major finals on the year – Laver winning the Australian title in January for his first major singles title and Fraser turning the tide on “The Rocket” at Wimbledon. Fraser also ends Laver’s 29-match winning streak securing on the Eastern grass court circuit following his loss to Fraser at Wimbledon. Hard finally breaks through and wins her first U.S. title after five previous attempts to win the title. Says Hard, “I never thought I would do it, “ says Hard. “That girl (Bueno) never gives up. She hits winners when she least expects it. It’s been a long time coming. It’s great.”

From September 23, 1938 – After a delay of six days due to a hurricane hitting the New York area, play is resumed at the U.S. Championships at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills as Don Budge keeps his dream of being the first player to win a Grand Slam alive by beating 1931 Wimbledon champion Sidney Wood 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 in the men’s semifinals. Advancing to play Budge in the final is his unseeded doubles partner, Gene Mako, who defeats Australia’s John Bromwich 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the other men’s semifinal. In women’s singles semifinals, Alice Marble beats Sarah Palfrey Fabyan 5-7, 7-5, 7-5, saving two match points at 2-5, 15-40 in the second set, while Nancye Wynne defeats Dorothy Bundy 5-7, 6-4, 8-6.

Gun Shots At The US Open

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)

Ted Kennedy Was An Avid Tennis Player, Fan

The United States, as well as many around the world, mourn the death of U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, called by many as one of the greatest U.S. lawmakers ever and the youngest brother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy was an avid tennis player and fan for most of his life and was a member of his high school tennis team at Milton Academy. He also participated annually in the Robert F. Kennedy Celebrity tennis tournament at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, a very popular event in the 1970s.  Later in life, Kennedy used his tennis racquet to hit tennis balls for his dogs to retrieve.

kennedy-1 Eunice, Bobby, Ted and Jean Kennedy, left to right, children of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, line up on the tennis court of the Kennedy Estate at Palm Beach, Fla., in 1941.

kennedy-2

kennedy-3 Kennedy at the Robert F. Kennedy Celebrity tennis tournament at Forest Hills…

Andy Roddick: A Sporting Gesture

Andy Roddick may have performed his best act when he married Sports Illustrated model Brooklyn Decker last month, but his act of sportsmanship at the 2005 Italian Open would rank high as well. The following excerpt from the May 5 chapter of the book ON THIS DAY IN TENNIS HISTORY ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.tennishistorybook.com) details what happened.

May 5

2005 – Andy Roddick performs one of the greatest gestures of sportsmanship on a tennis court when he overturns an apparent double-fault – that would have given him the match – and eventually loses to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 6-7 (1), 7-6 (3), 6-4 in the round of 16 of the Italian Open in Rome.  Roddick is leading 5-3 in the second set and has triple match point with Verdasco serving. Verdasco’s serve appears to land just wide and is called out by the linesperson. Roddick, however, says the ball was in after checking the mark on the clay court and concedes the second serve ace to Verdasco. “I didn’t think it was anything extraordinary,” says Roddick. “The umpire would have done the same thing if he came down and looked. I just saved him the trip.”  Famed American sports journalist Frank Deford say on National Public Radio of the gesture, “In one moment with victory his for the taking – no, not for the taking – is given, is assumed, Andy Roddick went against the way of the world and simply instinctively did what he thought was right. Once upon time we called such foolish innocents sportsmen.”

1981 – New Yorkers John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis are eliminated from the WCT Tournament of Champions at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y. McEnroe is defeated by Brazil’s Carlos Kirmayr 5-7, 7-6 (7), 6-2 in a second-round match, while Gerualitis is defeated by fellow American Fritz Buehning 7-5, 7-5. McEnroe holds a match point in the second-set tie-break but is unable to convert, while Gerulaitis loses the last six games of the match after taking a 5-1 lead in the second set. ”Inexcusable,” says McEnroe of the loss. ”He ran me around like a yo-yo and he deserved to win.”