So as many of you know I spent the better part of the day basking (or was it baking?) in the New York City sun for Nike's US Open challenge!
There were lucky tennis balling kids from every borough of the city bussed in for a hit with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Gael Monfils, Victoria Azarenka and Na Li. Legend John McEnroe was on hand as well to help MC the event.
A makeshift, regulation-size and very bouncy court with bleachers was set up on Broadway + 23rd Street right next to the iconic Flatiron Building. I arrived around 9:30am and was greeted by throngs of fans and curious passersby surrounding the location. I decided not to stay in one place but to find all the best spots for picture taking.
Rog was the first one up to some balls with kids before being interviewed by the media. Gael Monfils came out after a short break to do the same. Next up were the ladies - Victoria Azaranka + Na Li - who demonstrated the pre-match warm for all the kids then practiced volleys.
And, finally, to close out the day (after about an hour more of sun-baking) was the pairing of Rafael Nadal + Serena Williams. The two were interviewed by Johnny Mac before being matched up with one of the kids. Rafa was asked by JMac about what he did during his time off to which he replied "Lot of rest, lot of relation, lot of party." JMac answered back, "Lots of partying?" and the Spaniard responded, "And hard work." Eh, right.
Anyway, they were challenged to coach their kid to return a machine-fed ball over the net and if they made it a donation of $5,000 would be made to one of the charities being represented. Suffice it to say both kids (and ballers) did their job.
And for the first time Nike unveiled the new outfits for their ballers by having them wear each kit during their appearance- all except for Maria Sharapova's. The Russian's outfits were featured in a display case on site: the daytime dress is a dusty-pink dress with fluorescent green piping with a visor and jacket to match.
The evening dress comes in navy blue with silver piping. The jacket is an off-white glittery number. Sorry - not the best pic:
So all in all a great event. It's amazing how big and fit these boys + girls really are when you're standing on the same level with them and not looking down from the bleachers or on TV. Impressive.
Check below for more images and visit my new Flickr page to see the full album!
PS - A big shout to Amy aka SapphireSwell for hanging out today and suffering with me. I think we may have bonded over Rafa + sweat. Good times.
(images via DtL)