- Title: USA: TENNIS PLAYERS PREPARE FOR THE US OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT AT FLUSING MEADOW
- Date: 23rd August 2002
- Summary: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 23, 2002) (REUTERS) VARIOUS SERENA WILLIAMS BEING PRESENTED WITH BRACELET (SOUNDBITE) (English) SERENA WILLIAMS SAYING: "Trying to go all the way, I haven't won since '99 at the US Open, but I've won a couple of Grand Slam's this year so hopefully I'll be able to go one step further than last year." (reporter asks "is it going to be another Williams final?) "We don't know, we definitely hope so, it's what we're fighting for."
- Embargoed: 7th September 2002 13:00
- Location: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: General,Sports
- Reuters ID: LVA3VJBK3TJ73PNBXZUWZ16X9193
- Story Text: The world's top tennis players are in New York, gearing up for this year's U.S Open at Flushing Meadows. The Williams sisters are yet again the hot favourites to slug it out for the women's title, with Australian Lleyton Hewitt the number one seed, and front runner for the men's Grand Slam title.
Preparations are in full swing at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York for this year's U.S Open tennis championship starting on August 26. Players are already on the newly painted courts, putting in last minute practice and eying up each others game. And the stars of the centre court, are gearing up the hype with a host of public appearances.
Favourite to win the women's title, Serena Williams began the day opening the Nasdaq, before heading to Fifth Avenue jewellers, Harry Winston, where she was presented with a diamond bracelet to wear throughout the tournament.
Serena is tipped to battle out the final against her sister, Venus Williams - the twice defending champion of the U.S Open. Despite winning a host of titles this year, including Wimbledon, Serena says it's the U.S Open title that she really wants, "Trying to go all the way, I haven't won since '99 at the U.S Open, but I've won a couple of Grand Slam's this year so hopefully I'll be able to go one step further than last year."
While 20-year-old Serena attempts to become the first player since Steffi Graf in 1996 to win three majors in a row in one calendar year, Venus will be gunning to become the first player in over two decades to win a hat-trick of consecutive U.S. Open titles.
With the rest of the top women reduced to playing a supporting role as the headline grabbing "Williams Show" takes centre stage, the likes of Australian Open champion Jennifer Capriati, fourth seed Lindsay Davenport and former world number one Martina Hingis will be hoping for some divine intervention at the hardcourt major.
In the men's tournament, defending champion Lleyton Hewitt heads the field but with eight different winners in the last nine grand slam events, there is no clear favourite in New York.
Hewitt's form since winning Wimbledon last month has been patchy with a first round defeat in Toronto, a finals appearance in Cincinnati and a third round loss in Indianapolis.
This year, security has been tightened up in the wake of the September 11th attacks.
Radios, backpacks, briefcases and camera accessories are all banned from the U.S. Open, and everyone, even the players, are subject to scrutiny. Managing Director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Daniel Zausner said, "Background checks are being done on all credential holders at the event this year from food court to centre court, players, vendors, USTA employees all go through a background check before they are issued a credential."
But the extra measures are not restricting fans enjoyment of the tournament. Spectators were already arriving at Flushing Meadows today, just to catch some of the qualifying rounds and practice sessions. Avid fan, Jerry Lakin knows who he's putting his money on to win this years women's title, but says the men's could be wide open, "I think that probably Serena Williams has got a good shot at the womens, and I don't know - Lleyton Hewitt looks very very good because he was good last year but if he has a bad day ?" he said.
The tournament will run for two weeks, ending on September 6th.
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