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A new fan experience at the US Open

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Originally published on 30/08/14

The USTA are about to embark on a period of transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, which in 2016 will include the addition of a retractable roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. But in the meantime there are plenty of innovations going on around the grounds, including this year the inclusion of a new fan experience courtesy of Time Warner Cable.

TWC were announced as a sponsor of the US Open in 2013 and this year as part of the sponsor activation programme a “Studio” has been set up at the Chase Centre, near Court 17, close to the East Gate of the grounds. The studio includes an umpire’s chair when fans can experience what it’s like to be in the hot seat, not to mention have a photo of the experience, keep up to date with all the live action on the big screens, enjoy the free Wi-Fi and have the opportunity to pose questions to some of the legends of tennis.

Today, it was the turn of Billie Jean King, winner of 39 Grand Slam titles, to face the fans. Interviewed on stage by doubles legend Mark Knowles, King talked about some of her early experiences in the game, and what it’s like to walk through the gates and see her name.

“Every day I walk in, I can't believe it, it doesn’t feel real at all,” she said. “I feel responsibility, I think about my whole life in one flashing moment about my parents my brother about all the people who have supported me in my life, It’s really about them, without them, my name would not be up there, I would not be here.”

After the fans asked their questions there were two trivia teasers, with two $50 gift cards to be won courtesy of TWC. The questions were tough and included this: “In 1970 the US Open became the first grand slam tournament to use what?” Guesses included lights, yellow balls, Hawkeye, hard courts. The answer was tiebreaks. As BJK pointed out, they were nine-point tiebreaks. Then the tennis legend stopped to sign autographs.

If you are at the US Open the following legends are due to appear in the TWC Studios, so why not drop by and put your question to them, and don’t forget to brush up on your tennis knowledge, if you want to get your hands on a gift card!

 

Guest appearances (All times local/EST):

Sunday August 30, 1-1.30pm James Blake

Monday September 1, 1-1.30pm Martina Hingis

Tuesday September 2, 5.30 – 6pm James Blake

Wednesday September 3, 5 – 5.30pm Lindsay Davenport

Thursday September 4, noon – 12.30 Jim Courier

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