"Real Housewives" star Jill Zarin is dreaming big and competing for a spot in the mixed doubles draw of this year's US Open.
© Courtesy of Jill Zarin
By McCarton Ackerman, USOpen.org
Jill Zarin’s fierce tennis matches with fellow "Real Housewives of New York City" cast member Ramona Singer made for some compelling episodes of the hit reality show. Now she and current "Real Housewives" star LuAnn de Lesseps have their eyes set on some slightly bigger competition.
The reality stars will vie for a berth in this year’s US Open by competing in the US Open National Playoffs Eastern Sectional Qualifying Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, held from June 8-14, in Flushing, N.Y. Zarin will compete in the mixed doubles event with Kyle Owens, a teaching pro at the Murphy Jensen Tennis Academy in Sea Island, Ga, while de Lesseps will also play in that event with Elliott Pettit, a teaching pro at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
Both teams will play their opening round matches on Monday, June 9, at 2:00 p.m. ET. Zarin and de Lesseps are not playing each other in the first round.
“When I had heard about the opportunity to compete in the US Open National Playoffs, I honestly thought I was being punked!” said Zarin. “It is an honor and privilege to be able to compete for a spot in the US Open, so I hope everyone comes to cheer us on! This is going to be so exciting for me as a huge tennis player and fan.”
Currently starring in the sixth season of 'Housewives,' de Lesseps is an avid tennis player who even finds time to practice with the same reality star she'll be competing against. "We play tennis once in a while together," she revealed during an interview with Andy Cohen on "Watch What Happens Live" last April. "Jill is like family to me. We did the show together for many years. She actually is the person responsible for getting me on the show. So random!"
Zarin is also an active tennis player who has participated in Chris Evert’s celebrity tennis event, in addition to taking part in other tennis charity events. She’s taking her chance for a spot in the US Open seriously and has been training hard around New York for the last several weeks.
“Just played tennis for the first time this season. GREAT game,” she tweeted last month. “Felt so good to serve and play.”
Since her time on the "Real Housewives" franchise came to an end in 2011, she has found plenty of ways to stay busy. She is the vice president of Zarin Fabric Warehouse, designer of Skweez Couture Shapewear and Hosiery, co-author of the best-selling advice book "Secrets of a Jewish Mother" and is launching her new 18K and Diamond Jewelry Capsule Collection this summer on GEM Shopping Network. Her jewelry line also released a cubic zirconia tennis bracelet last summer.
Other celebrities who have competed in the US Open National Playoffs include LMFAO frontman Stefan “Redfoo” Gordy, Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller and ESPN anchor Mike Greenberg.