U.S. Open pauses to remember 9/11 under heavy security

Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:49pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U. S. Open reached an emotional climax on Sunday as the year's final grand slam paused amid heavy security before the start of the men's singles to remember those who died in the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

As heavily armed law enforcement officers and bomb sniffing dogs patrolled the sprawling Billie Jean King Tennis Center, a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium with 9/11/01 stenciled into the court observed a moment of silence followed by a flyover of four F-15E Strike Eagles.

The U.S. Open's Flushing Meadows home is just 10 miles to the northeast of the site of the former Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the 2001 attacks left a mark on the sprawling facility and many players.

At the Open in 2001, a 20-year old Australian Lleyton Hewitt defeated American Pete Sampras to win the men’s final two days before the attack.

Several of the players in that year’s tournament left New York on flights in the days and even hours before the Twin Towers came down.

Over the years since, scores of top tennis players from around the world have made their way to the site of the Twin Towers.

Spain's twice U.S. Open champion Rafa Nadal, who was 15-years-old in 2001, has said he has gone to memorialize the 9/11 victims at least a half dozen times over the years.

Serb Novak Djokovic, who played Swiss Stan Wawrinka in Sunday's final, in 2009 invited several children of 9/11 victims to see him play at the Open.   Continued...

Sep 11, 2016; New York, NY, USA; General view of the playing of the national anthem at Arthur Ashe stadium before the match between Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in the championship match on day fourteen of the 2016 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports