Applause In The Action: US Open
The US Open draws fans from all over the globe. But just who are these dedicated tennis supporters? We decided to find out. During the first day of action Monday at Flushing Meadows, we met some of the sport's most die-hard and passionate followers. While every fan has a story to tell, here are some of our favorites, in their own words.
Natalia San Andres
"I sold my house in Venezuela so I could come this year. I try to come to as many tournaments as I can. I take pictures with all the players. I've met all of them. I have these photos on my phone with Rafael Nadal, David Ferrer, Andy Murray ... There's a lot of photos."
"My best friend is playing here as a wild card -- Wayne Odesnik. We've been friends since we first played against each other when we were 7 years old. I live in Miami, and we just flew up for the day. Well, now until tomorrow. We thought he was going to play today because we didn't know the schedule, but now it's tomorrow. I told him to stay positive and to keep control of your thoughts because it's a huge stage and to just focus on what you can control and go out there and kick ass."
"I come every year. It's one of the best events in the city. I started coming in 2003 and have been every year since. I'm most excited to see Serena Williams. I'm a little disappointed I didn't get to see her today, but I did get to see Venus. I'm going to be here maybe Wednesday and definitely Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, next Thursday. I take two weeks off every year. I live in Brooklyn, and I take the time off every year so I get to come whenever I want to come. It gets to be a little pricey, but if I were on vacation overseas somewhere, I would be spending a lot more money. The venue here is amazing, and there are people here from all over the world. You get to talk to all different people, you get to experience this, and the excitement of the matches. It's just incredible. There truly is no other event like it."
"I love Novak Djokovic! This is my first time here. I've been to Roland Garros and Wimbledon before, but this is my first time in New York. I'm a huge fan of the US Open, and to me, it's the best because of the hard court. I've been a Djokovic fan since 2008 when I saw him in a tournament in Portugal that he won. I realized then that he's the champion for me. I like the person, I like the strength that he has, the mental strength that he has and that he never gives up. [Roger] Federer is great, [Rafael] Nadal is great. But Djokovic, I just love him. I live in Brazil and wanted to get a jersey for the World Cup. I decided to use Djokovic's name because I know he's a big football fan and to show my support for him."
Melinda Peterson, with daughter Anneke
"We're from Utah. My husband and I coach high school tennis, and we said the first year we quit, we're coming back to the Open. So we quit, and here we are, baby and all! We have kids now, and it's just too hard to keep coaching. When he said, 'Let's go this year,' I was like 'What about the baby?' but he convinced me, and we came! We came six years ago, before we had kids, but it's a lot different now with them. The commercial says 'Nothing beats being here,' and it's so true. We can watch at home, but our favorite matches are the no-name Americans who play on the outer courts and you really get to feel like you win the match with them. You're such a part of it and you get so into it. The stadium is fun and seeing the top-ranked players is great, but we really enjoy the experience of the outer courts."
Adam Becker (right), with Robin Fernandes
"We played together at [Texas-San Antonio]. I'm originally from Canada, and he's from South Africa; we met on the tennis court at school. This is actually my second time here; I played in qualifying a few years back but didn't make it to the main draw. It's a lot different this time around. It's just great to be here and see all the quality tennis. We, of course, are both [Roger] Federer fans ... but who isn't?"
Kong Chien (right), with Daisy Wang
"We're from New Zealand, and [Daisy] has been playing tennis for a long time, even as a professional at one time. We've always wanted to come to the US Open, and this is our first time at any Grand Slam event. We traveled across the world for this one, but haven't made it to the one in the country next to us!"
Bob McCarole (right), with Peggy McCarole
"Maria Sharapova. Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer. Andy Murray. I could go on and on with all the talent that's here. We were at the US Open before it was here. We first came when it was at Forest Hills in the 1970s, and we've been coming almost every year since. We usually come for the first three days. We've seen so many great matches over the years. We've been to Wimbledon three times, too, so it's hard to not confuse matches in our memories. I play tennis five days a week. I didn't pick it up 'til I was 40, but then was hooked."
"I have been a fan of tennis since my school days. In India, I used to get up very early in the mornings to watch the US Open. Now I'm doing my postdoctorate in the U.S., and it's a dream come true to have the opportunity to be here and see this in person. My two kids, who are 12 and 7 and are back home in India, play competitive tennis. They will be watching this match tonight because they know I'm here. I'm wearing this T-shirt so they can find me!"
Sam Hetherington (second from left), with Shane Bullen, Nick Holloway and Chris Rowe
"We first became Andy Murray fans after seeing him play in his first Aussie Open , long before he was a known player. We're from Melbourne, and it's just luck that he became so successful over the years. This is our first US Open, but I've been to several Australian Opens. We have two different outfits with us showing our support for Murray that we'll rotate while we're here. Hopefully he appreciates the support."