The Path to the U.S. Open
The U.S. Open is considered by many players and tennis experts to be the "toughest" tournament in the sport, for two reasons. The first reason is that every tour player has an intense desire to win the American "Grand Slam" title. The second reason is the massive media attention and many distractions that come with a major international sporting event hosted in New York City.
The U.S. Open presented our project with one of our own "toughest" challenges. Gaining access to film the world's best players in battle on center court at the Open was a major challenge.
Our team considered the Open to be the ultimate "laboratory" for studying pro tennis, and filming on center court was critical to our project. But how to get there? The question points out the real importance practical, logistical considerations in any research project. Whatever brilliant research ideas you may have, without the right support and the right access it may prove impossible to ever test them in the field!
Competition for the limited number of photo credentials and camera positions is intense at the Open--not to mention the pushing and shoving for the best spot among those lucky enough to make it to photographers' row!
This situation was compounded in 1997 by the opening of the new
Arthur Ashe Stadium court, and the completely rebuilt tournament complex at
Flushing Meadows Park. The USTA had never chosen to undertake the type of
research we were proposing at the Open. Given the tremendous pressure of
opening the new stadium complex, would it be possible to work out all the
logistics necessary for this new collaboration in time to film on Arthur
Ashe Stadium Court?
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