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Members find themselves in the game

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By Dana Czapnik

“When it comes to starting any kind of fitness regime, you should find something that you like to do. Start early. And it hopefully will translate to the rest of your life. Tennis is a great tool for that.”

Those words, spoken by fitness expert and "The Biggest Loser" star trainer Bob Harper, couldn’t have been more apt a sentiment to share on the US Open’s annual Member Appreciation Day, which takes place each year at the US Open and is a chance for the USTA to thank its members by providing them with fun activities, live music and free snacks and beverages inside the hospitality area of the Chase Center.

Harper, who was at the US Open Friday signing copies of his new book "Jumpstart to Skinny" for USTA members and taking in a day of Grand Slam tennis, was surrounded by USTA members.

Aside from all the wonderful perks of being a USTA member – like access to US Open tickets, subscriptions to top tennis publications and major discounts at a variety of well-known dining, apparel, travel, retail, and entertainment outlets – members also have the opportunity to play in USTA League. And a number of league players were also in attendance to watch the best in the world hone their craft.

Mike Haupt, who has spent the whole week at the US Open taking in tennis while he is in town from St. Louis, is relatively new to league play, but he has fallen in love with the sport and the benefits of USTA membership.

“My mom put me in lessons when I was a kid just to get into tennis and I’ve never been that great,” he said while waiting in line to take his photo with the US Open trophy. “I’ve gotten much better now, getting involved in the USTA Leagues, playing with other people. I’m at about a 4-level. But I’m trying to get to open tournament status.”

For his part, Harper, himself a tennis enthusiast, stressed that being a good player or being extremely fit is not a prerequisite to be involved in the sport.

“Tennis is great because it’s very active, it’s a lot of fun, it’s competitive when you want it to be competitive and it’s a sport that’s so easily accessible,” he said.

Haupt is a great example of the importance of starting tennis young. Though he didn’t play competitively while growing up, his introduction to tennis as a child set him up for a lifetime of enjoyment of the sport.

But Member Appreciation Day isn’t only about talking about the benefits of playing tennis, it’s also about the benefits of watching tennis. Bostonian Sue Geer loves watching the young American women who are making a splash this year, and she’s fallen in love with watching matches on Court 17.

“This is the first Member Appreciation Day for us, and we’re really enjoying all this,” she said as she left to go find the draw and the schedule of play for the day.

For Haupt, who is attending his first ever US Open is taking it all in, wide-eyed.

“I’m happy to be here during Member Appreciation Day,” he said. “It’s a really great experience to see so many people together that enjoy tennis. It’s a sport that brings people together.”

For more information about becoming a USTA member and all the benefits membership provides, visit the USTA membership on USTA.com.

 

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