FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Although this was Super Saturday at the US Open, it was also the ninth anniversary of September 11th. Even with tennis as the centerpiece in Flushing Meadows, a solemn air hung overhead and the USTA and athletes involved made sure it was remembered.
In the distance, the blue lights of the Twin Towers of Light shined to the stars and the Empire State Building was clad in red, white, and blue.
Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Kahn sung “America The Beautiful” after a moment of silence. The flags in Arthur Ashe Stadium hung at half mast and after their matches Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal honored the victims.
“Nine years ago the world changed for everybody, and when I come to New York I think about 9/11,” Clijsters told the crowd after she won the US Open Women’s Title. “It was an honor to play here today and maybe give the people a distraction as well.”
Nadal also made sure he mentioned the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“I don’t want to forget, it’s a very special day for everybody. I want to express my support for the victims of 9/11 and their families,” World No.1 told the New York crowd after posting a 6-2 6-3 6-4 semi-final win over Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
“Nine/11 was a big shock for everybody in the world. Everybody remembers where they were at that moment, and I remember what happened that day and where I was.
“It was a terrible shock for me, especially because I was in the top of the twin towers a few months before.
“That’s just the minimum thing that I can say. All the support for the victims and for the families for sure is always in my mind.
“When I came back after the disaster, in the first six years, I always was there at Ground Zero every time watching that.
“So that’s probably the most impact view that I had in all my life.”