The 17th Annual Arthur Ashe Kids Day took place on Saturday, which was attended by thousands and featured some of the most popular music acts and tennis players. Carly Rae Jepsen performed her ubiquitous hit “Call Me Maybe” to the delight of children and adults alike, and The Wanted performed their single “Glad You Came.” In addition, former US Open champions Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and more participated in the event, which took place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
There were many families, friends, and groups that attended the event. One group I spoke to was from Gethsemame Baptist Church, which is located in West New York, New Jersey. This is the fifth year the church has organized a group of children to take to Arthur Ashe Kids Day, which was inspired by one of the members of the church. “The executive director of the Althea Gibson Foundation started attending our church. She wanted to get young people involved. She has been actively keeping information about Althea Gibson alive,” said Evangelist Geraldine Clark. Frances Gray is the member of the church who is the director of the Althea Gibson Foundation.
When I asked Evangelist Clark about the experience the kids had the next day, she said “it was wonderful. Two of the kids made a comment about being forced to come, but they were so happy they were because they had a great time.” I am sure they are hundreds, if not thousands of kids who attend Arthur Ashe Kids Day and felt the same way.
The US Open itself kicked off on Monday and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to speak with the crowd. Jordin Sparks, who looked amazing in a form-fitting white dress, also was on hand, performing her single “Celebrate” before a fantastic version of the National Anthem.
On the court itself, At 16-years old, Haitian-American Victoria Duval, the youngest competitor in the 2012 US Open after winning the USTA Girls’ 18 National Championships and earning an automatic bid, excited the crowd in her 3-6, 1-6 loss to veteran Kim Clijsters. In the second match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night, Donald Young was defeated by Roger Federer in straight sets, 3-6, 2-6, 4-6.
The US Open continues through Sunday, September 9th and there are still tickets available for select sessions.