It isn’t easy for Roger Federer to disappear in New York when he’s playing in the U.S. Open, but on Wednesday he was hiding in plain sight in one of the last places one would expect to find him: the public courts of the Central Park Tennis Center.
“Central Park hitting … Extremely cool experience,” Federer tweeted.
The crowds grew as word spread and Federer added later, “When in Central Park.”
The courts aren’t quite the same quality as those at the National Tennis Center, but the surface is artificial and clearly Federer was not unhappy with his workout. As for any schlubs who might have hoped to get in a little court time and pretend to be playing in the U.S. Open, good luck occupying a court adjacent to that guy.
For Federer, the decision to head to the park came from his desire for a hitting session, Sports Illustrated reports, closer to his Manhattan hotel Wednesday. Who can blame him? Traffic to Flushing Meadows can be a bear, so Eric Butorac, a former ATP pro, helped make the magical moments happen. The Central Park Tennis Center, located between 93rd and 96th streets near the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, offers 30 courts, 26 of which have clay surfaces, and they’re likely to see an uptick in activity over the next 10 days or so thanks to Federer.
The third seed in the Open, Federer was pushed to five sets in his first match against Frances Tiafoe. He dropped two sets (something he did not do the entire time he was cruising to his Wimbledon title) but prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. Federer plays Mikhail Youzhny on Thursday afternoon in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
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