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Megawatt Star Power At U.S. Open Opening Ceremony

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

“On behalf of the city of New York, welcome to the one and only U.S. Open,” said Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg.

This year’s Open celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the tournament and the first tournament of the Open Era. From 1881 until 1968, the U.S. National Championship was limited to amateurs. In 1968 the modern era of tennis was born when the US Open replaced the U.S. National Championship and opened its doors to all who qualified to compete.

Since 1968, Bloomberg said that the US Open is “the best attended annual sporting event in the world.”

The host of the evening's festivities was Oscar winning actor Forrest Whitaker, who spoke about the history of the tournament and the tumultuous year of 1968.

In 1968, the U.S. became even more embroiled in the Vietnam War, protests and social unrest erupted throughout the country, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, and the highly politicized summer Olympic games took place in Mexico City. And in 1968 Arthur Ashe became the first ever men’s champion and the first ever African American Champion of the U.S. Open, which was held at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, for the first time, becoming one of the only bright spots during a difficult year for the country.

In honor of that special moment in tennis history, Whitaker introduced a procession of 25 past champions of the tournament including Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and her daughter Camera Ashe as well as Virginia Wade, the first women’s singles US Open champion.

Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyWidow and daughter of Arthur Ashe, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe and Camera Ashe


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyVenus Williams


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonySerena Williams


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyBillie Jean King


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyForest Whitaker


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyMartina Navratilova, Gabriela Sabatini, John McEnroe


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyBoris Becker


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyGabriela Sabatini


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyMonica Seles


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyMarat Safin


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyRoger Federer


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyForest and Keisha Whitaker


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyOscar de la Renta


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyMartha Stewart


Black Tennis Pro's U.S. Open Opening CeremonyAnna Wintour, Editor of Vogue


Photos Yahoo Sports, Getty Images, WireImage

Posted by Shelia

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