'9-11-01' to be painted next to US Open court
A white "9-11-01" will be painted next to the court for the U.S. Open men's and women's singles finals, part of the Grand Slam tennis tournament's commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The men's final in New York is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 11. The women's final is a day earlier.
"If you think about it, everybody knows where they were on 9-11. And by putting that ... date, it's going to trigger memories for each of us — personal memories — and that's a factor that went into this," Jon Vegosen, the U.S. Tennis Association's chairman of the board and president, said in a telephone interview Thursday.
"Rather than imposing what 9-11 means," he added, "it allows it to be a much more personal moment for people."
The temporary display will be placed near the net — across the court from where the chair umpire sits and players go to rest during changeovers — and will be painted on the green background that surrounds the blue playing surface in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
It will be added on the tournament's second Friday night, when there are no matches scheduled to be played.
"Our goal is to mark this very solemn occasion in a dignified and respectful matter," Vegosen said. "We're certainly a global stage, and we have a special responsibility to honor those fallen and those who responded heroically on that fateful day."
Vegosen also said security at the U.S. Open will be increased in 2011, although he declined to talk about any specific measures.
Other USTA plans connected to the Sept. 11 anniversary:
— all players entered in the tournament will be given a U.S. Open hat with "9-11-01" stitched on the side;
— the men's finalists will walk from the doorway that brings them from the locker room to the court through a path lined by an honor guard of New York police officers, firefighters and Port Authority police;
— Marines will unfurl a court-sized U.S. flag in the stadium;
— moments of silence;
— a military flyover;
— New York's 9-11 memorial logo will replace advertising for the tournament's official website on a wall inside the stadium;
— performances by Queen Latifah and Cindy Lauper.
"There's a balance here that one wants to maintain: You don't want to go over the top, and you don't want to be too understated," the USTA's Vegosen said. "And I think we're striking that balance."
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