Celebrities Get in on the Game at the US Open

By Abbie Fentress Swanson

Will Ferrell, Taio Cruz and Carmelo Anthony are among the stars who will participate in this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. The grand slam will also include 9/11 tributes from Queen Latifah and Cyndi Lauper.

Cruz, a British singer songwriter, will perform with Chance, a 14-year-old pop star, at the tournament’s opening night on Aug. 29.

Ferrell plays doubles in an exhibition match with John McEnroe and Jim Courier on Sept. 8. The United States Tennis Association (U.S.T.A.), which runs the U.S. Open, has yet to find a fourth celebrity to play in the match. The actor and comedian has, in the past, gotten on the court at the Arhur Ashe Kids’ Day.

This year’s lineup for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Aug. 27 includes Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (along with his wife La La), pop star Cody Simpson, actor Bradley Cooper and singer songwriter Jason Derülo. Kim Clijsters, Serena and Venus Williams, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will also participate.

There will be several 9/11 tributes during the grand slam, which runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11.

Before the women’s singles final on Sept. 10, the Queens rocker and actress Cyndi Lauperwill perform. Newark’s own Queen Latifah will perform a pre-match 9/11 tribute at the men’s final, which falls on Sept. 11. Latifah also did at a 9/11 tribute at the U.S.Open in 2002 (at right).

“The USTA’s goal is to mark this solemn occasion in a dignified and respectful manner,” said Jon Vegosen, the board chairman and president of the U.S.T.A, in a statement. “We are one of this nation’s global stages on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, and we have a special responsibility to honor those fallen and those who responded heroically on that fateful day.”

At both singles championship matches, “9-11-01″ will be inscribed on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court. The finalists in the men’s tournament will enter the court through an honor guard comprised of members of the New York Police Department, the Fire Department of New York and the Port Authority Police. A military flyover will also take place on Sept. 11 at the end of the pre-match ceremony.

Musical groups who will be playing on the Flushing Meadows grounds during the U.S. Open include Wye Oak, Ava Luna, The Aviation Orange, Humble G and The Afripeans, The Moonlighters, singer songwriter Susan Justice, and violinist Jane Hunt. For a schedule, click here.

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