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Stepping Out

New York Open sure to thrill

Past champions lead deep singles draw

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Defending champion Reilly Opelka and 2018 champ Kevin Anderson headline a stacked field of singles players committed to compete in this year’s New York Open men’s tennis tournament, which takes place Feb. 9-16 on the unique black courts at NYCB LIVE’s Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

In addition to Opelka and Anderson, the ATP Tour 250 event will feature John Isner, the top-ranked American in the world at No. 19, Milos Raonic, a former Wimbledon finalist and current No. 31, Nick Kyrgios (30th), 2019 runner-up Brayden Schnur, 2018 runner-up Sam Querrey (44th), Kyle Edmund (a former world-ranked No. 14) and Soonwoo Kwon (No. 88.) Kei Nishikori (13th) was forced to withdraw last week due to injury.

“The New York Open, home of the famous black courts, will be better than ever this year,” Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs said. “Our player field is the strongest to date with fan favorites Kyrgios, Isner and Opelka all playing.

“There are some new and exciting things for fans to enjoy as well,” Lebedevs added. “The first day of qualifying rounds — Sunday, Feb. 9 — will be Family Day presented by PGA Tour Superstore where all tickets are free so the entire family can come out. We will also host the New York Open Pickleball Championships for the first-time in the exhibition hall during finals weekend.”

Last year’s singles final saw the unseeded Opelka grind past longshot qualifier Schnur, 6-1, 6-7, 7-6 for his first ATP title. In the semifinals, Opelka fought off six match points to beat the top-seeded Isner. “This is definitely my biggest title yet,” said the then-21-year-old Opelka, a Florida native who blasted 43 aces against Schnur and compiled a tournament-leading 156 for the week.

Like the singles draw, there was no shortage of upsets on the doubles side last winter. The final featured two unseeded teams with Kevin Krawietz and Andraes Mies taking the title with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win over Santiago Gonzalez and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi.

Opelka will compete on the doubles side as well, pairing with fellow American Steve Johnson. Jack Sock, a former No. 1 doubles player in the world, forms another talented American tandem with Nicholas Monroe. The Aussie combination of Kyrgios and Jordan Thompson also figure to be a tough out, as will the pair of Marcus Daniel and Phillip Oswald.

“The New York Open is one of the most exciting sports events and we are incredibly excited to host the festivities for the third consecutive year,” said Maureen Hanlon, President of Onexim Sports and Entertainment. “The enthusiasm and devotion to tennis on Long Island is evident and we take great pride in offering this event to the community. It’s been a lot of fun to witness this event grow year-in and year-out, with thousands of fans in attendance at last year’s Open. This February, we are expecting an even larger turnout for this one-of-a-kind event.”

The Open kicks off with the New York Tennis Expo on Sunday, Feb. 9 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This year’s expo will give guests an opportunity to interact with the biggest and most innovative brands associated with tennis including skills camps, product sampling, guest speaker sessions and a kid’s zone with activities and games for the whole family. There will also be on-court activities, such as hitting for prizes and free tennis clinics provided by local college programs and top tennis coaches.”

Throughout the week, there will also be a series of educational programs and panel discussions exploring workplace culture sponsored by GF Sports, which owns the New York Open. The lineup of events include: a Veteran and Diversity Hiring Expo giving US Military Veterans, women, minorities and those with disabilities a chance to explore available career opportunities; a STEM Education School Day, during which hundreds of students from throughout Long Island will participate in structured, interactive activities focusing on various aspects of Science Technology Engineering and Math; and a Women’s Leadership Brunch offering a platform for discussion about implementing and fostering a diverse work culture in business.

Tickets can be purchased via either newyorkopen.com/tickets or nycblive.com/events, at the Ticketmaster Box Office at NYCB LIVE, or by calling 800-745-3000. For more information, visit newyorkopen.com or nycblive.com.