The inaugural New York Open brought professional tennis back to Long Island in exciting fashion earlier this year, and the ATP World Tour 250 tournament has announced its dates for next year. The 2019 NY Open will run from Feb. 9-17, 2019 at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Anderson, Querrey and the Bryans to Return
While the 2019 New York Open is still months away, Tournament Director Josh Ripple and his team at GF Sports and BSE Global have been hard at work preparing for the second year of the tournament.
“After a three month retrospective of the inaugural tournament, one thing is very clear—there is a great future for ATP World Tour tennis in the New York-metropolitan area,” said Ripple. “Players, fans of all ages, corporate sponsors and Tour officials have welcomed and congratulated GF Sports and BSE Global’s efforts on the 2018 debut.”
In big news, the New York Open has announced its first set of headlining players for 2019, beginning with defending champion and recent Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson. Joining Anderson is 2018 NY Open runner-up Sam Querrey, plus the current number five-ranked doubles tandem of Bob & Mike Bryan.
Fans can expect to see more player announcements coming out around the U.S. Open.
New York Open to expand its interactive experience
The inaugural New York Open delivered great tennis on the court, and worked hard to integrate the Long Island community into the event. Whether it was through special events or promotional nights, the New York Open cemented itself as part of the local tennis scene and will continue to build on that.
“A great benefit to debuting an event like the New York Open to a savvy and vocal consumer base is receiving straight talk feedback. Many attendees were impressed with the size and scope of our temporary physical footprint and how we allowed for fans to watch these top players in an up close and personal way,” said Ripple. “We planted several experiential offering seeds and are excited to see how they grow. Our plan is to drive greater awareness for The Overlook—our on-court indoor/outdoor hospitality area—activate the Coliseum’s Expo Hall, and better market the Grant Thornton Lounge—which will serve our VIP customers better in 2019.”
New initiatives to the 2019 New York Open will include the build-out of some 40-50 on-court level boxes, enhanced ability for people to play like the pros on the competition courts, the complete takeover of Carefree Racquet Club to stage off-site camps, clinics, tournaments in addition to allow people the opportunity to watch the players practice at the Official Practice Facility of the New York Open.
“We think the addition of the box seats will provide customers—both individuals and corporations a familiar footprint to entertain during the week, and with our all-inclusive food and beverage offering the experience should be very memorable and attractive at a reasonable price,” said Assistant Tournament Director Peter Lebvedevs. “We plan to price the boxes in groups of fours, starting at $5,000 and going up to $7,500 for the front row.”
Like any major entertainment event these days, the New York Open will need to present additional attractions, and will do so with features ranging from the return of the New York Tennis Expo, hosted by Long Island/New York Tennis Magazines, to the integration of Wolfpack Ninja. A GF Capital company, Wolfpack Ninja will provide kids and adults the opportunity to train with professional ninjas and test their own physical abilities on the incredible and grueling rig/course that has made ninja activities one of the most explosive recreational and entertainment platforms in the world.
Ripple also emphasized the importance of securing a title sponsor for 2019. Both GF Sports and BSE Global are actively pursuing local, regional and national prospects. Like so many major professional sports events, the involvement of a title sponsor not only provides much needed funding support, but the partnership provides for year-long marketing and promotional activities which helps grow the roots of a tournament like the New York Open deep in the community.
“The first year of any new sports event typically serves as the proverbial ‘Dip the Toe in the Water’ position with partnerships. In year two, our ability to build on the momentum created in year one, combined with the initiatives outlined above, will be the natural next step in the development of what is certainly going to become a major winter tradition in New York,” said Ripple. “But having that title partner that serves as our corporate champion is critical, and we are confident a great brand will be secured for 2019.”
A look back at 2018
The New York Open debuted with the return of the New York Tennis Expo, which brought nearly 4,000 people to NYCB LIVE for a day of fun with a vast exhibitor hall, tons of tennis activities and games, educational seminars and much more.
The Opening Night Premiere kicked off the tennis action and brought together U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Eugenie Bouchard, New York’s own John McEnroe and Yonkers native James Blake for an exciting exhibition night, before the tournament action heated up during the week.
“It’s really exciting for me to be a part of this opening year,” said Blake. “I remember growing up and going to the U.S. Open with my dad and seeing tennis up close. Hopefully, this tournament can create some more fans like myself. I think it’s a great thing for the sport and a great thing for the community.”
The 2018 NY Open featured some of the game’s biggest stars, including Anderson, Querrey, John Isner, Kei Nishikori and the Bryan Brothers, as well as future stars in young Americans Frances Tiafoe, Jared Donaldson, Ryan Harrison and Long Island’s own Noah Rubin.
In the end, the top two seeds, Anderson and Querrey, respectively, met in the tournament’s final and it was the big South African Anderson who came out on top, winning the inaugural singles title with a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(1) victory.
Anderson shared his thoughts on the tournament’s first year:
“Often, when it’s your first week and the first time you put on an event, it can be quite challenging. I must say that I feel like things went very smoothly. I think from a player’s standpoint, it didn’t feel like a first-year event at all. I think everyone who was behind the scenes did a terrific job and I’ve had two good outings in New York the last two times I’ve been here, so I’m definitely all for a tournament being back here and I definitely look forward to coming back next year.”
New York Open player view
With top Americans Querrey and the Bryan Brothers back in the mix, the next step for the New York Open team is to keep a close eye on the up-and-coming players, and young Americans in particular.
One of the more fun aspects of putting together a player field for Ripple and his team is handicapping the next level of stars and signing them to play with the hopes that stardom is just one or two tournament wins away. Looking at the rankings, most of the young Americans are still stacked up between 45-100 in the ATP World Tour Rankings, and each are within four to five years in age of one another.
“A difficult, yet rewarding, part of the job is to make the bet on who’s going to be the next best kid to break through,” said Ripple. “From a GF Sports standpoint, it has always been part of our mission to help the young Americans, and that commitment will be no different in 2019. The question is can any of that talent make the move and crack the top 30, which seems to be elusive for so many of them.”
So who is the New York Open looking at this summer?
“Honestly, it’s still those same incredibly talented kids that are battling to breakout,” said Ripple. “Since February at the New York Open, we have seen Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz with glimpses of greatness, and even local favorite Noah Rubin bust out at the Challenger levels. Our hope is they all continue to climb, because their rise in the rankings can only help our efforts in ensuing the highest levels of professional tennis remain in the United States.”