Friday, August 17, 2007

Reason #9 / Top 10 Reasons Why the US Open Is The Worst Annual Major Sporting Event in the World

9. Because the USTA “negotiated” such a terrible lease with the Borough of Queens, the USTA is only allowed to use their own facility for major events a few days per year. Each US Open, the facilities have to be shined up, repainted, and the entire infrastructure re-installed and brought up from scratch, since the place has been sitting there, decaying, for 49 weeks since the last US Open. Efforts by some of the professional staff at USTA to - for example - move the Pro Circuits Office to Flushing for the entire summer (so at least the goddam phones would work when people start arriving for the tournament) have been blocked by the Borough of Queens and the terms of the lease.

The chaos brought about by the crumbling infrastructure is mind-boggling. With matches oncourt, there is landscaping going on, the floors are being painted, there are miles of wire being run, workmen are screaming at each other, power tools are screeching, there are ladders, cranes, and snorkel lifts in the hallways and on the walkways between the courts. The entire site should be declared a hard-hat zone through qualifying and the first week of the tournament, but I'm guessing the local fire marshal and assorted local officials have been paid off, and are all driving new BMWs.

Rudy Giuliani's predecessor, David Dinkins, loved tennis and was instrumental in getting the USTA/Borough of Queens lease done. Dinkins doesn't realize the damage he caused to the US Open and to American tennis by keeping it in the shithole of Flushing, Queens. When Giuliani took office, he vowed to investigate the lease and have it set aside if he found any hanky-panky. Giuliani never followed through, thus setting American tennis back decades. No WONDER there are currently exactly two Americans in the mens Top 50.

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