While a high-energy concert took place inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, Youth Tennis clinics were held around the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
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By McCarton Ackerman, USTA.com
The 2014 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day treated families to a carnival of activities including world class music, tennis clinics, games and even jugglers on stilts.
The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center hosted the 18th edition of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, where kids young and old were treated to a stadium show that featured some of the most recognizable faces in the music and tennis worlds. The show featured Grammy-nominated country singer Hunter Hayes, breakout duo MKTO, girl group McCLAIN, British boy band The Vamps and teen sensation Madison Beer.
On the court, top players including defending US Open champion Serena Williams and former US Open champions Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, last year’s US Open finalist Victoria Azarenka and rising American Jack Sock tested their skills in fun on-court contests to raise money for charity. Murray and Williams tied for first place in the skills challenge with a Youth Tennis participant from the National Junior Tennis & Learning network.
Williams also spoke before taking the court about the legacy of Arthur Ashe.
“He was such an amazing guy. I had the opportunity to meet him when I was much younger,” she said. “I think he’d be proud that there are so many talented African-American players now, and especially in America, doing so well and playing so hard and being a role model for the next generation.”
Djokovic was presented on court with a US Open onesie to celebrate the impending arrival of his first child with wife Jelena Ristic. He also got in a workout outside of the tennis with fitness guru Shaun T, one of the co-hosts for the stadium show. Shaun, the creator of best-selling fitness programs including “INSANITY” and “Hip Hop Abs,” put the entire crowd through their paces and got them up and moving during the show.
Outside Arthur Ashe Stadium, kids participated in fun Youth Tennis lessons with top pros including defending US Open mixed doubles champion Max Mirnyi. A wide range of entertainment options were also available, including face painting, jugglers and Xbox tennis. The sounds of laughter and screams of delight could be heard throughout the grounds as many of those in attendance were getting their first exposure to the sport for a lifetime.
Click here for more on the day's grounds activities
Balloon artists and costumed characters like Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star and Dora the Explorer also made an appearance on the grounds.
"This is the coolest place ever,” said Elizabeth Morris, 7, of Fresh Meadows, N.Y. “There are so many things for kids here.”
No matter how old or how new to the game fans were, there was something for everyone at this year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.