New York Open Stays Out of the Way in Tournament’s First Year

New York Open Stays Out of the Way in Tournament’s First Year

“For the first year, it was what we expected,” said Josh Ripple, the tournament director. “Already, it’s more than Memphis was for the last 10 years. To think we would get 6,000 people here in the first year is just a bad thought process unless you’re going to have Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.”

Those stars were not present, but the event offered a striking new look as an attraction: black tennis courts adorned with white lines. The fashionable new surface was making its professional tour debut (it had previously been used in the Laver Cup exhibition last year) and most players seemed to like it.

“I wish more tournaments would use it,” said Artem Sitak of New Zealand, who lost in the doubles final with Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands. The doubles winners were Philipp Oswald and the veteran Max Mirnyi, who was playing in his 100th ATP final. Mirnyi, a 40-year-old Belarusian, won the United States Open doubles tournament twice and spent time in New York training when he was a teenager. Being back in the region, he said, was a thrill.


Sunday’s final drew a crowd of 2,111 people to Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, though there were many more empty seats early in the week.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

“I really enjoyed waking up and having a New York bagel,” he said. “So many great memories.”

At least one other player did not share’s Mirnyi’s enthusiasm. Adrian Mannarino of France, the No. 4 seed, lost to Querrey in a semifinal and then blasted the suburban isolation.

“Happy my girlfriend was here, otherwise I would have killed myself,” he said with a laugh. “Being in the middle of nowhere, not doing anything during the day, only playing tennis, is not the thing I really like.”

That did not go over well with locals.

“The Mannarino comments were not appreciated,” Ripple said on Sunday. “I think those were the product of sour grapes. If he doesn’t want to come back, he doesn’t have to. Everyone else seemed to think it was great.”

The clash between Young and Harrison also marred the event. During the first set of their match Monday night, the two players, who have an acrimonious rivalry, yelled at one another — including challenges to meet outside and fight — until they were separated by the chair umpire.

After the match, Young told an ATP official that Harrison had made a racially insensitive comment toward him during their altercation, and Young later made a similar, vague accusation on his Twitter account. Harrison denied it and an ATP investigation found no evidence to support Young’s claims. A witness, one of the ball persons on the court at the time, said he had heard the entire exchange and corroborated Harrison’s account.

Among the biggest names to attend were Querrey, John Isner, Kei Nishikori and Anderson, who made it to the U.S. Open final last September before losing to Nadal. His win on Sunday pushed him to No. 9 in the ATP rankings and cemented his affection for the state.

“I’ve had two good outings the last two times I’ve been in New York,” he said. “So I definitely look forward to coming back next year.”

Another player who enjoys playing in New York is Noah Rubin, the former Wimbledon juniors champion who grew up a 10-minute drive from the coliseum, in Merrick, N.Y. Ranked 234th in the world, Rubin was given a wild-card entry and lost to the fifth-seeded Nishikori in the first round on Tuesday. That match was fairly well attended, once people settled into their seats.

“When I first got on court and looked around I was worried,” Rubin said of the crowd, “but then it filled in and it was pretty cool.”

Not necessarily a jungle, but a decent first-year showing.

Correction: February 20, 2018

An earlier version of this article misstated a career achievement by Max Mirnyi, who won the doubles title at the New York Open with Philipp Oswald. It was Mirnyi’s 100th ATP final, not his 100th ATP doubles event.

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