The Emirates Airline US Open Series features eight U.S. tournaments, all on hard courts and all leading up to the 2012 US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world. This year they have one more thing in common—all eight are recognizing the many sacrifices of U.S. military service members, veterans and their families by honoring them at Military Appreciation Events across the country.
The Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, Calif., held a player appearance and tennis exhibition aboard the USS MIDWAY Museum to kick off its "Celebrate Our Heroes" event, which took place on July 18. Professional tennis players such as Top 50 young Americans Christina McHale and Sloane Stephens played tennis with sailors from Naval Base Coronado and USS MIDWAY staff. In addition, between matches during the tournament, a military appreciation ceremony was held that included a flag unfurling by Marines, a Marine color guard and recognition of wounded warriors. Complimentary tickets to the day’s matches were provided to military personnel, veterans and their family members.
The Los Angeles Farmer’s Classic offered unlimited complimentary tickets to all active-duty military, veterans and their families during the week of the tournament as part of its military appreciation efforts. The event also adopted a unit stationed overseas through the USTA’s "Adopt-A-Unit" program, collecting donations for care packages and hosting a letter writing campaign to support deployed service members.
On August 4, the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., held a Military Appreciation Day. Five hundred tickets were distributed to military personnel and their families courtesy of GEICO. More than 300 military family members enjoyed a free tennis clinic hosted by USTA Mid-Atlantic prior to the day’s matches. The ceremonies included a flag unfurling by local volunteers and retired military personnel, a US Army Chorus anthem singer and the presentation of colors by the Old Guard,the Army's official ceremonial unit and escort to the president. Guest announcer Wayne Bryan, father of Olympic gold medalists and 11-time Grand Slam champions Bob and Mike Bryan, was on hand to welcome military families and introduce special guests.
In addition, the tournament was honored to have Lt. Reid Albano, currently at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., perform the ceremonial first serve. He was joined by incoming Army Warrior Transition Commander Brigadier General David J. Bishop, who performed the coin toss. The sponsor of the day’s events, GEICO, also hosted a luxury suite and invited wounded warriors and their families from Walter Reed to attend.
The Emirates Airline US Open Series is currently in its ninth season and features 10 tournaments (including two in Canada) that create a summer hard-court season leading up to the US Open. To learn more about the Emirates Airline US Open Series and about military appreciation events at Series events near you, visit www.EmiratesUSOpenSeries.com
. To learn more about USTA’s military outreach programs, visit usta.com/military or ‘like’ us on Facebook at facebook.com/ustamilitaryoutreach.