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Tennis fever will once again take over New York City next week, as the country’s largest tennis tournament returns to Queens! The US Open, which begins play on Monday, August 27, is the last of the four major tournaments of the tennis season. Nearly 713,000 people attended the US Open in 2010 (the latest year for which data are available) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park, the biggest tennis stadia in the world, with 20 outdoor courts and a 245,000-square-foot indoor facility. The tournament has risen in popularity each year as attendance has increased by 11.5 percent, or an average of 1.3 percent, per year between 2001 (the first year there was a separate day for the women’s finals) and 2010, and generates $750 million in economic activity according to a study done by the USTA.
This year, a total of $25,526,000 in prize money will be awarded among the three championship groups—singles play, doubles play and mixed doubles play. Each singles winner will take home $1.9 million, and each doubles team winner $420,000 between the two players. The mixed doubles team who takes the prize receives $150,000 between the two players. But we're guessing the feeling of winning the title and hoisting the trophy is priceless.
New Yorkers love tennis in August and throughout the year. Groups heading to watch the US Open in person are highly visible on the 7 train to Flushing, while others prefer to watch the matches on TV in the comfort of their own homes. New York also has plenty of tennis facilities for the not-quite-pros looking to brush up on their backhand; the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation manages 79 tennis centers across the five boroughs, containing a cumulative 594 courts. Besides being the headquarters for the US Open, Queens also boasts the most tennis facilities (27) and courts (194) of any of the boroughs. That means that there is one tennis court for every 11,587 residents—well below the City average of 13,880. Staten Island had the highest number of residents per tennis court at 21,385. Of course, this is a count of City-managed courts, so doesn’t include those at gyms or other private facilities.
Are you going to watch the US Open this year? Which are your favorite tennis courts in the City?