Life at the U.S. Open

Before starting full-time with Kendra Cersosimo Creative on October 1st, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to work on the Player Services' team at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. While I still put in many hours on design projects and jumped on several Zoom meetings and phone calls with clients, I spent every morning for the last 25 days in the fitness center in Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City. Here's some memories and details I hope to always remember.

 

25 days ago, I stepped foot at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the first time since 2007. Over the last 3 weeks, I've worked with many professional athletes, witnessed several upsets, and met many great colleagues that have now became new friends. It's been an exhausting adventure but one I will never forget. 


About the Job

My role on the Player Services' Fitness Center Staff was to ensure the athletes had a great and safe experience in all of the fitness centers. Throughout the tournament, the team staffed 5 different fitness areas around the complex: cleaning the equipment, signing athletes up for physio rooms, and making sure towels, drinks, and bananas were always in full stock. I was the first one in the gym everyday with the early morning shift and was lucky enough to be first out the door by early afternoon to go and catch some afternoon matches and even sneak in an afternoon nap before exploring the city.


My Team

My immediate team consisted of 12 people from all areas of the country including: South Carolina, Texas, California, Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, and - of course - New York. It was so fun getting to know each and every one of them, hearing their stories, and learning the reasons why the U.S. Open job appealed to them. For some it served as a college internship requirement and for others it was an opportunity of a lifetime that was worth 3 weeks of PTO or double-duty jobs (SAME). It didn't take long for these strangers to become friends and soon enough we were meeting up to watch matches, attend some Mets games, and even grab some post-shift drinks.  

 

Q&A

My favorite players I watched and/or interacted with?

Females: Coco Gauff, Leylah Fernandez, Sloane Stephens

Males: Denis Shapovalov, Gael Monfils, Grigor Dimitrov

 

Top Matches I watched?

  • Tsitispas vs. Murray
  • Tsitsipas vs. Alcaraz
  • Monfils vs. Johnson
  • Johnson/Querrey vs. Arevalo/Middelkoop
  • Fernandez vs. Svitolina
  • Fernandez vs. Sabalanka
  • Fernandez vs. Radacanu (finals match)

... So I watched a lot of Fernandez, but do you blame me!? She beat THREE top-5 seeded players!

 

Which player was I most star-struck over? 

To be honest, being behind-the-scenes gave a whole different perspective of these athletes and made them easy to view as human beings over seeing them for just the absolutely impressive athletes that they are. While I think I may have passed out had I ever looked Roger, Rafa, or Serena in the eye, I really didn't fan girl too bad over these players.

 

The most star-struck I did get was on my way to clock out during the first week of qualifiers and running into Novak Djokavic for the first time as we were both entering the players' lobby of Ashe stadium. I wasn't necessarily expecting to see him that day let alone from within 10 feet away.

 

Food of choice? 

Each day, we received credit for food to be used in the staff cafeteria or from the grounds' vendors. My most eaten items were: chicken caesar wraps, personal pizzas from Ashe Stadium, and the second best cookies I've ever had (doesn't beat MHS cookies of course... IYKYK). For those who don't know, my all-time favorite food is nachos. Luckily, my friend introduced to me to the nacho vendor on the very last day, so I got to enjoy some for the men's championship match. It's probably a good thing I didn't know about them earlier. 😋

 

A Moment I'll never forget?

Stepping onto Ashe court. Before the players arrived, our team got the opportunity to walk onto the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Having watched matches both in-person and on television in that stadium, made walking onto the court so surreal.  That being said, I can't even imagine the pressure of playing for a packed house or the feeling of having an entire stadium cheer for or boo against me, and honestly, I'm completely okay with that. 

 

All-in-all, this tournament was one I will never forget. From meeting top-ranked players to working with some incredible people, this 3-week journey was nothing short of amazing. Thanks, US Open! Hopefully I'll be seeing you again next year!

Food of choice? 

Each day, we received credit for food to be used in the staff cafeteria or from the grounds' vendors. My most eaten items were: chicken caesar wraps, personal pizzas from Ashe Stadium, and the second best cookies I've ever had (doesn't beat MHS cookies of course... IYKYK). For those who don't know, my all-time favorite food is nachos. Luckily, my friend introduced to me to the nacho vendor on the very last day, so I got to enjoy some for the men's championship match. It's probably a good thing I didn't know about them earlier. 😋

 

A moment I'll never forget?

Stepping onto Ashe court. Before the players arrived, our team got the opportunity to walk onto the court of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Having watched matches both in-person and on television in that stadium, made walking onto the court so surreal.  That being said, I can't even imagine the pressure of playing for a packed house or the feeling of having an entire stadium cheer for or boo against me, and honestly, I'm completely okay with that.