The U.S. Open 2012 tennis tournament began with a bang on August 25 at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, the annual kickoff event at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, NY.
Honoring a Legend
The event celebrates the life and legacy of Arthur Ashe, the first African-American male tennis player to win a Grand Slam title, at the U.S. Open, in 1968. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. In 1993, after his death, Ashe was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton. Since then, Kids’ Day has taken place in his honor each year. The main stadium at the USTA Tennis Center is named after him, too.
In his lifetime, Ashe was committed to showing kids what was possible. He co-founded the National Junior Tennis and Learning Network (NJTL), dedicated to developing the character of kids through tennis and education.
An Action-Packed Day
In the morning, kids enjoyed a variety of activities, including face-painting, tennis drills, relay races and tennis games played on stilts. Tennis players and other professional athletes joined the event to inspire and encourage the kids. “For kids who want to be athletes, I would just say to have fun with it,” Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin told TFK. “Make sure you love what you do and be open to trying new things. Just go out there and do what you do, and see what you like.”
Later, everyone gathered at the Arthur Ashe Stadium for a concert starring Carly Rae Jepsen, The Wanted, Owl City, Rachel Crow, and Mindless Behavior. “I’m really excited to perform today,” Jepsen told TFK. “My parents are coming!”
Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen sang their hit “Good Time” together onstage as the crowd cheered and danced. Other performances included Rachel Crow singing “Mean Girls,” The Wanted performing “Chasing the Sun,” and Mindless Behavior performing “Number One Girl.”
Game, set, match! The 2012 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day was a win for everyone involved.