Whether it was free tennis clinics, world-class music or the odd juggler on stilts roaming around, this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day had something for everyone at every turn.
The USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center once again hosted the kick-off event, which celebrated its 21st anniversary in 2016. The stadium show inside Arthur Ashe Stadium included some of the most successful performers in modern music along with rising stars in the entertainment industry. Among the headliners were multi-platinum hip-hop artist Flo Rida, international pop star Zara Larsson, award-winning Disney Channel actress Laura Marano, Entertainment Weekly’s “One To Watch” Jordan Fisher, breakout pop band Forever In Your Mind and Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan.
Two-time US Open champion Venus Williams, 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, two-time Olympic medalist Jack Sock, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig and Olympic bronze medalist Steve Johnson also took to the court for a series of fun skills challenges.
“I’m really excited to see Venus,” said 8-year-old Samantha Faruza, as she waited in line to get her face painted. “She’s my favorite player!”
Before the stadium show, a wide range of entertainment options for fans of all ages could be found around the grounds of the USTA Billie Kean King National Tennis Center. Between youth tennis clinics, off-court activities including face painting and juggling, and performances from up-and-coming musical talent at the Hess Festival Stage, there was no shortage of activities for those in attendance.
“I had never played tennis before, but it was really fun hitting the ball,” said 10-year-old John Guttman. “My parents bought me a racquet, so I’m going to start playing now.”
Proceeds from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefit the USTA Foundation, which helps fund the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, a nationwide group of more than 500 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education and life-skills programming to more than 225,000 children each year. NJTL was founded 47 years ago by Arthur Ashe, along with Charlie Pasarell and Sheridan Snyder.
The best of this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will also be broadcast nationally by ABC on Sunday, Aug. 28, from 2 to 3 p.m (ET).