| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo Credit: New York Open

 

With two chapters of the New York Open under the community and organizer’s belts, tournament officials at GF Sports tell us that New York Open 3.0 plans to return bigger, better and maintain its moniker as the “Home of The Black Court.” GF Sports has already been busy preparing for the only indoor championships on both the ATP and WTA Tours in the United States. 

The New York Open comes off a successful second year with increased attendance, expanded television coverage and growing sponsorship support, as well as maintaining its credibility with the men’s professional tennis tour as one of the Tour’s finest-produced indoor tournaments. With the support of partner BSE Global, the New York Open continues to invest and build what is quickly becoming a winter tennis tradition in the market.

“The trajectory continues to point northward on all fronts,” said GF Sports COO and New York Open Tournament Chairman Josh Ripple. “The metrics for 2019 were superior to our opening year in 2018, and New York Open 3.0 will prove to be a markedly more attractive and a better tournament and entertainment event than our first few editions.”

What seems to be consistent with the New York Open is that it continues to prove attractive to the players. Tournament officials have created an environment, which has been a turnkey for players desirous of having little complication to perform. With a state-of-the-art facility in the NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, practice facilities both at the arena and nearby Carefree Racquet Club, and tournament hotels within 600 feet at the Long Island Marriott and only a few miles from the Garden City Hotel, top players wanting to consider the New York Open as a viable opportunity in their schedules are committing early.

Furthermore, GF Sports has attempted to add ancillary programming, which has been attractive to the players, but more importantly to the community. Long Island and New York Tennis Magazine’s New York Tennis Expo has collaborated with GF Sports to return next year with a greater offering. It is the intention of officials from both properties to now move the fun-filled family day to Sunday and combine it with the tournament’s opening day of qualifying competition. This schedule will allow for patrons to not only enjoy the days’ worth of interactive activity in NYCB LIVE’s Exhibition Hall at the Expo, but will also allow free attendance to watch the great up-and-coming ATP players vie for spots in the New York Open’s main draw.

“We believe that combining the New York Tennis Expo with the qualifying tournament of the New York Open will be compelling for consumers who have attended both but on different days the last two years,” said Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs. “We have averaged 4,000 people who have joined us for the Expo since 2018, and we feel that by adding the qualifying to the program, we can attract thousands more, which would be really exciting for us.”

New York Open Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs is helped out by attendees during the New York Open Draw Ceremony which took place at the 2019 New York Tennis Expo. 

 

The Taste of New York Open that featured New York’s own celebrity chef, David Burke, last February will return as the tournament’s official player party. The culinary event provides for the community to participate in a VIP foodie event, while being able to hob nob with ATP players, officials, coaches and area celebrities. The debut of the Wolf Pack Ninjas was well-received last year, and should be even more attractive to tournament-goers in 2020, with those interested in testing their strength and agility against several of the world’s most well-known ninja athletes.

Two important racket initiatives are keen on the minds organizers for 2020.

First is the expansion of the New York Open Skills Challenge. Used primarily as a promotional vehicle and a unique programming tool for tennis pros and facilities around the area, GF Sports has its eye on creating a multi-tiered competition around the Tri-State Community for players of all ages in tennis’ only version of a pure skills-centric competition. Akin to football’s “Punt, Pass and Kick,” and golf’s “Drive, Chip and Putt,” the Skills Challenge is the only analytics programming to test player’s abilities on groundstrokes, serves and volleys. The goal is to have finalists be able to compete on the New York Open’s stadium black court during the tournament week when they will be awarded prizes by several of the ATP’s top players.

However, a major focus will be to create the first regional indoor pickleball championship. GF Sports is looking to create a minimum 14-pickleball court footprint inside the Coliseum’s Exhibition Hall during the week of the New York Open, leading up to the various divisions’ medal matches being played on the black courts of the main NYCB LIVE arena.

“It’s evident that the sport of pickleball is taking on a massive profile not only in the northeast, but throughout the country,” said Lebedevs. “We plan to create the U.S.’s first major indoor championship in conjunction with what we do with our Tour event. We have much to define and develop, but this will be a major treat for pickleball players around the New York area.”

 

Finally, there’s a goal to broaden the reach and participation of the New York Open Collegiate Invitational by inviting colleges from around the region and country to participate. In 2019, the Invitational was offered to colleges within the USTA Eastern Section where 16 of the area’s top collegiate singles players competed for a main draw wild card. Columbia’s Jack Lin successfully earned his berth only to lose in the first round to eventual New York Open finalist Brayden Schnur. In 2020, GF Sports is looking to offer wild cards for both the singles and doubles main draws, and will open up the opportunities to the country’s top schools.


New York Open Announces Early Player Commitments

Kei Nishikori, Kevin Anderson, Nick Kyrgios, defending Champion Reilly Opelka and 2019 finalist Brayden Schnur are signed up for the 2020 installment of the New York Open.

The New York Open returns to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, Feb. 8-16, 2020, and while it remains a key destination for the majority of the American player contingent, GF Sports has received early commitments from international star power that will undoubtedly make New York Open 3.0 an interesting and diverse field.

(Photo Credit: USTA/Darren Carroll)

 

The New York Open has signed agreements with Nishikori, Japan’s number one and the ATP’s seventh-ranked player; Anderson, the 2018 New York Open champion and current eighth-ranked star; and Kyrgios, currently 36th in the ATP Singles Rankings, but without a doubt, world-renown for being one of the Tour’s most talented, colorful and controversial players.

(Photo Credit: USTA/Andrew Ong)

 

“The fans will have a lot to look forward to this coming February with the return of Kei and Kevin and the addition of Nick,” said Ripple. “One of our objectives for 2020 is to elevate everyone’s experience by presenting a diverse player field, and without a doubt, we are heading in a great direction. Adding someone like Nick to the New York Open is huge, and we think fans will want to see this talented player and personality.”

In addition to having two of the top 10 and Kyrgios inked, the tournament also received the early decisions from its defending champion and finalist from last February—Reilly Opelka and Brayden Schnur, respectively.

“We had tennis’ version of a Cinderella story this year with Reilly and Brayden breaking out and reaching the championship match, and we are happy to report that both young upstarts will be back,” said Lebedevs. “Reilly continues to make strides to become one of America’s top players, and we are proud to have served as his launching pad to stardom. It will be fun for us and the fans to follow their progress throughout the next eight months.”