The 2019 US Open is officially underway, bringing upwards of 700,000 visitors from all over the world to Queens to witness some world class tennis.
From Egypt to the Philippines and countless places in between, fans are converging on the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. To help make sure it runs smoothly, the USTA has assembled a small army of employees to work on the grounds for the grand slam. More than 7,000 people are hired to work at the US Open every year, and 40% of them are locals from Queens.
“It’s a big, big push for us to be a part of Queens, to be part of New York City, to be a part of this tri-state area and give people a chance to work here,” said Brendan McIntyre, the Senior Director of Corporate Communications for USTA.
On the courts, 40 miles of string will be used to construct the pro’s tennis racquets. That’s 150 times taller than the Freedom Tower. And Wilson, the official tennis ball of the US Open, will provide about 98,000 balls specially made for the tournament. Last year, 76,000 tennis balls were used in 946 matches by 788 players.
Representatives say there’s a big focus on sustainability this year. The balls and the canisters will all be recycled.
“All of us are finding ways to make sure everything we’re using finds a second home,” said Kyle Schlegel, the Global Marketing Director for Racquet Sports at Wilson.
Spectators are sure to work up an appetite watching all of those matches. Luckily, there’s no shortage of food.
Sixty concession stands and five restaurants will serve up 90,000 pounds of beef, seven-and-half tons of crab, shrimp and lobster, and 225,000 hamburgers and hot dogs. And the honey-deuce, the official cocktail of the US Open, will be garnished with a total of 750,000 melon balls.
“I have to tell you, this is one of the reasons we come, to be completely honest!” said one fan, raising the cocktail in her hand.
As for the players, they’re staying hydrated with almost 80,000 bottles of water and 45,000 bottles of Powerade. And the pro’s favorite snack is a banana—6,000 will be eaten throughout the tournament.