With the semifinal match-ups for men and women finalized, just a few days remain of the 2017 US Open Tennis Championships. The prestigious hard court tournament is the fourth and final tennis major of the Grand Slam, and perennial fan favorites like Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams are still in the running for their share of the $50 million purse.
Think your top performers and big clients would be interested in watching the action in person, from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City?
One need not be a tennis aficionado to appreciate the history and prestige. Read on for details of one of the world's oldest tennis championships, plus the easiest way for your VIPs to take it all in live.
137 Years of World-class Tennis
Did you know the US Open is the highest annually attended sporting event in the world? More than 720,000 fans flock to Flushing, Queens each year to see their favorite tennis stars battle for one of the most hard-fought titles in sports.
The first-ever US Open dates back to August 1881, on the grass courts of Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. Starting in 1915, the tournament jumped between Philadelphia to Forest Hills, Queens. In 1968, the US Open as we know it - a combination of men and women's singles and doubles - began. Finally the US Open settled at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens in 1978. This also marked the start of the US Open being played primarily on a hard court surface.
The tennis center has 22 courts inside its 27 acres of land. Its four "show courts" include the Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand and the cream of the crop: center court Arthur Ashe Stadium, named for the inaugural men's singles winner and reserved for the most prestigious matches.
Making Headlines in 2017
Dominating this year's U.S. Open headlines is the resurgence of American women's tennis: Today, for the first time since 1981, two all-American semifinals will take place. We recently wrote of Venus Williams' incredible run to the finals of Wimbledon, and she is looking to make history again. At 37 years old, Williams is the oldest semifinalist at any Grand Slam since Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994. She faces Sloane Stephens, an up-and-coming 24-year-old who has won 13 of 15 matches since reappearing in May after a year off recovering from foot surgery.
Both women will be facing off on the Arthur Ashe center court, named for the first black man to win a Grand Slam at the 1968 US Open. Speaking of the matchup, Stephens told Bleacher Report, "It's great for American tennis, and it's great for African-American women. I hope that we keep it going."
Williams added, "[Arthur Ashe] played during a time where he couldn't just focus on the tennis. I'm very blessed to be able to focus on my game, but he had to fight because of the colour of his skin... To come out of it with grace, as a champion, it's incredible."
In men's singles, it will be at least another year until we can witness the long-anticipated first-ever meeting between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Though both men made it to the quarterfinals, 24th-seeded Juan Martin del Potro stunned Federer in four sets to move into the semifinals. Del Potro will face Nadal Friday afternoon. In the meantime, you just might catch Federer in Central Park casually hitting balls with his fans.
Russian former champion Maria Sharapova stirred significant controversy when she appeared as a wild card in her first major tournament after a 15-month doping ban. She fared well attempting to reach the quarterfinals, holding off match point three times before losing to Latvian Anistasija Sevastova. Adding to the controversy was the USTA's choice of scheduling - they featured Sharapova on prestigious Arthur Ashe every time she played during the tournament.
Finally, actress Emma Stone is set to close the US Open at the women's finals Saturday alongside tennis legend Billie Jean King. Stone plays King in the upcoming film Battle of the Sexes, a biopic about her matchup with Bobby Riggs and blazing a trail for women in tennis. The ceremony will celebrate the 50th anniversary of King's 1967 triple crown win.
Send Your VIPs to the 2018 US Open
What upsets, comebacks and controversies will take place next year? Will Federer and Nadal finally meet head-to-head in the US Open? And who will emerge victorious?
Hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world will be trying to get tickets to next year's iteration of the only American grand slam. Winspire Experience Agency ensures your VIPs enjoy the view from center court, while soaking in the Manhattan skyline.
Playing at home couldn't be sweeter #usopen
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See tennis legends compete in the Women's and Men's Finals, then round out your incentive trip with deluxe accommodations, airfare and private transfers. We can help brainstorm additional ideas to make your stay in New York unforgettable. Your organization gets all the credit, and those most important to your business walk away with memories to last a lifetime.
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