Reflections from the US Open
Nov 02, 2023
I was standing at the baseline. I looked up at at all the empty seats lining the Grandstand of the US Open. I was about to serve and it hit me. I'd always dreamed of this moment.
After winning state and regional titles at Father and Son doubles tournaments, my Dad and I traveled to "The Nationals" located at the same site as the US Open. We'd made it to all the way to the quarters in Flushing Meadows. This wasn't the real US Open of course, that was held later that summer. But it still felt special to play in Flushing Meadows — even if it was just for a silly father-son tourney.
Looking back, the US Open will always hold a sense of nostalgia. Beginning at age 7, my Dad and I made our first US Open pilgrimage. After that, we went every year until I was shipped off to college.
Above: Standing next to a tribute photo of John McEnroe, my childhood hero, at the US Open wall of past champions (Photo by Jim Martz)
Later, I took the 7 train to the US Open while living in Manhattan. But this year was different. As a Floridian, I took a JetBlue flight on behalf of Florida Tennis magazine and got access to the inner sanctum of the tournament.
I was impressed by the diligence, industriousness, and professionalism of the USTA. It's amazing what goes on behind the scenes to put on an event of this magnitude. And this year's US Open was spectacular.
In New York, I chose to stay in Queens to be closer to the US Open. I shacked up across the street from Cunningham Park Tennis. I wanted to play tennis too on my trip. Cunningham Park is one of New York's best kept secrets for tennis players. They've got 15 courts available in the summer.
Above: Cunningham Park teaching pro Horatio Luford (Photo courtesy of Horatio Luford)
It was fun to rip some backhands with one of Cunningham Park's top pros Horatio Ludford. Look him up if you visit — I swear he's got a one-handed backhand that looks like the masterpiece I later witnessed, in-person, from former US Open winner Stan Wawrinka.
In fact, I was so thrilled to watch "Stan the Man" at the US Open with fellow Florida Tennis contributor and photographer, Todd Pechter, that we featured a special story, Anatomy of a Backhand, to dissect the stunning stoke from the 38-year old Swiss maestro.
During my trip, I shadowed Florida Tennis Founder and Editor, Jim Martz, all over the US Open grounds to learn the ropes. We were fortunate to bring along copies of the magazine with Ben Shelton on the cover. The former Florida Gator made it all the way to the US Open men's semifinals. The few issues we had on-hand were quickly snapped up by newfound fans.
Above: Florida Tennis Founder and Editor Jim Martz in front of the famous Unisphere structure outside the entrance of the US Open (Photo by Matt Pressman)
Meanwhile, Delray Beach-based star Coco Gauff became champion this year capping an impressive showing by Floridians at this year's US Open.
In this upcoming November/December issue, Martz recaps the players who went deep at this year's American major including a cover story on the roots of of Coco Gauff and profiles an up-and-coming junior, Akasha Urhobo, who played her maiden US Open junior matches this year. Martz also reflects on the Venus Williams' tough first round loss at the US Open and provides some insights courtesy of Rick Macci.
Without giving too much away, a lot of amazing content is on-deck for our next issue. We'll be going to press shortly and look forward to sending out copies to readers soon!
Written by Florida Tennis' Executive Editor and Publisher Matt Pressman. This article also appears in the November-December 2023 issue of Florida Tennis Magazine. Be sure to subscribe for expanded coverage, exclusive interviews, and in-depth tennis news.