Take a walk down US Open memory lane via wonderful photos provided by a US Open regular.
I was so thrilled when Mel asked me to write a US Open post for you! Her site is fabulous, and what a great achievement to attend all 4 Grand Slams! I have been attending the US Open since 1997. I always watched it on television, and when my local bus company had a trip for the day, I had to go. It started with one day and I finally ended up staying in the city for the first week of the tournament. The first week is the best as you have so many matches to choose from and the day session usually goes into the evening. I love sitting there at night, when the weather has cooled down, and just enjoying the live tennis. I have had the pleasure of seeing so many great players and photographing them is quite fun.
A very young Maria Sharapova, in 2003, showed the great determination that has made her a champion. It is nice when you can spot the up and coming superstars before they get to the main courts. Maria is one of my favorites because I feel she is a very classy lady and fights hard in every match. I think she has a few more slams in her.
Andre Agassi from the practice courts in 2000. The practice courts used to be open, and if you were lucky to get a good view, you could take photos like these. During one of Andre’s practices, someone said Pete Sampras was playing in the main stadium, and a lady replied “I’d rather watch Andre practice than Pete play a match.” Andre was just so so popular with the fans. Another practice session had his tennis racquet fly out of his hand and hit a fan. Well, Andre came up to the lady himself, they asked if she was okay and took her and her daughter on the practice court to sit. Someone actually said “Why couldn’t I have been hit?” Just too funny and Andre did give her a racquet as well. The lady was not hurt, but I am sure was thrilled at meeting Andre Agassi!
Mary Pierce here from her match in 2000. Another one of my favorite players, a very classy lady. I used to obtain tickets courtside in Armstrong stadium, and got to see many great players up close. I am not a fan of Ashe stadium at all. It is just too big, and you really can’t see the match all that well. I am curious how the new courts will be that they are working on for a huge renovation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center which includes a roof by August 2017.
A very young Andy Murray in 2008. He has worked really hard and I am glad to see his results paying off for him with a pair of Grand Slams. These photos were taken with my film camera, I really hesitated to switch to digital. One year Olympus gave you a digital camera to use for a few hours on the grounds, then when you brought the camera back to them, they put your photos on a disk that you could take with you. I realized at that point that I could work with digital. It was a great promotion on Olympus’s part, my first digital camera was made my Olympus.
Anna Kournikova from 2000 during her match in Armstrong stadium. We had great courtside seats, and with my zoom lens, some fabulous photos were taken. There were lots of men at her matches, and a few wanted to look through my lens to see how close I got. They were smiling from ear to ear. She did win the match as well.
Lindsay Davenport from 2008 practice courts. She was never a favorite of mine, but I always take photos of great players. I actually sold my photos on ebay for quite a few years, so I learned to photograph whoever I found on the courts. Lindsay was a great champion.
Marat Safin from 2008 and 2009 during his matches. It took me a while to see Marat in person, 2006 was the first year, during a practice session. He was always very fun to watch, in a live match or practice. I did get to see his last match at the US Open the year he retired, was kind of disappointed the US Open did not do a little ceremony, since he was a former champion. He is greatly missed on the tour, I do not think we will see another Marat again.
Monica Seles and Tommy Haas from the 2000 tournament. Monica was having a practice session and I was thrilled to see her and get some great shots. A true champion and lovely lady. Tommy was fun to see play in person and we were pretty close to the court for his match.
Jennifer Capriati at the 2004 tournament during a practice session. I was never a big fan of hers, but was glad she was able to win a few slams before her career was finished. She did have lots of talent, and it would have been a shame not to use it as she was capable of champion play.
Juan Martin DePorto playing his match in 2009. This was probably taken with my Olympus camera. I think that year I actually brought the film and digital cameras with me. This was a nice shot, and I do feel he will win a few more grand slams before he is done with his career.
James Blake making a shot in his match in 2009. I had the pleasure of seeing his match in Armstrong, with courtside seats, due to a rain delay. I hate being at the open during rain delays as there aren’t a lot of places to go and keep dry. But sometimes rain delays can be a positive thing. Some of the shots he hit were amazing. Such fast reflexes! Sorry to see him retire this year, but I think it’s time, and I am sure he will continue to be involved in some aspect of tennis in the future.
Maria Kirilenko during her match in 2009. One of my favorites to photograph as the camera loves her. She plays well and very hard, I like that she is so classy as well. I am not sure if she will win a slam before she is done with her career, but she just might.
Juan Carlos Ferrero during his match at the 2009 US Open. He was one of my faves and I was thrilled to be able to see one of his matches live and up close. Nothing beats the smaller courts and the atmosphere.
Ana Ivanovic looking colorful during her match in 2010 US Open. This was during a night match, and taking photos at night can be tricky. I find the best method is manual mode, no flash, and see what comes out. At this point I advanced to the Canon Rebel Digital camera, which gives you lots of settings to shoot at night. Ana is a really good player, and I hope that she can get back to the form that won her the French Open title.
Andy Roddick during the 2010 Arthur Ashe Kids Day. I actually attended as press for the website Tennis Panorama which was quite cool. I got to sit in the photographers pit of Arthur Ashe Stadium. I have to say the pro photographers were not too nice. Being a newbie, I sat where I think it was the NY Times photographer was supposed to be. He could have been nice about me moving but was quite rude. I find no need for that stuff, but these guys are ruthless at getting photographs. I could never be like that. You can be professional, show some respect to others, and still get your shots all in the same breathe.
Marion Bartoli, the 2013 Wimbledon Champion, at her match in 2010. I love action shots and this one is pretty cool. I find it so much better with digital, as when I used film, I would take so many shots and the ones that didn’t come out went in the garbage. With digital, I can take a few of the same scene, and what doesn’t work, can be just deleted. I have grown to love digital photography over the years, and the equipment has gotten better and better.
2010 US Open Ernests Gulbis is not really pointing at me. I just happen to be in the direction of the ball boy to get his towel. This was on one of the smaller courts, which are really great for watching matches. I hope Gulbis gets himself together and makes a run for some big wins in his career. I think the talent is there.
These shots of Victoria Azarenka from the 2011 tournament were from one of the holes in the fence at the practice courts. I really hate the fact that you have to work so hard to get shots now when they practice. It was so much more fun when they practiced on open courts, and you could really enjoy watching them get a good workout. I was really shocked at how good these shots came out.
Another great shot from the 2010 Arthur Ashe Kids Day. It was really great seeing all these champions of the game together on court, and having fun. I am more a Rafa fan myself, and I love Kim. I would say these type of events are fun for the players before the big tournament starts. I would recommend Arthur Ashe Kids Day to anyone who is a tennis lover. The grounds are open that day, you can just go to see who is practicing as well.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame and Museum Gallery is a great place to get out of the heat and see some fabulous tennis history. They seem to be making more places on the grounds where fans can get a break from the heat and enjoy themselves in the process.
The Arthur Ashe statue on the grounds.
One of my favorite shots. at 2010 Arthur Ashe Kids Day, taken with the Olympus camera. I was very proud of the fact that even though I didn’t have a big fancy camera, I got some great shots. This one of Roger and Rafa is pretty cool as I think two of the greatest players of the game of tennis.
I hope you enjoyed this little trip down US Open Memory Lane with me! The tournament has come a long way since I started going in 1997 and I think for the better. I always advise folks to stay in Manhattan when attending the US Open, as you can include some New York City fun along with your tennis. I would like to extend a big “thank you” to Mel again for this opportunity to write this guest post. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the 2013 tournament. I am rooting for Rafael Nadal, or Andy Murray to take the men’s title. The women will probably be Serena Williams, but maybe we will be surprised. That is the best part of tennis is when someone you don’t expect to win, wins.
Please visit me at my blog, NYC Style and a little Cannoli, for great posts on New York City, as well as some tennis too!