Posted on 28 September 2011.
TODAY at the US Open - Tue 27th, the day before:
It's looking like it could be a good event, this forthcoming Delaware Investments US Open
First impressions of Philadelphia
, the centrally-located Crowne Plaza Hotel
, and the venue at Drexel University's Daskalakis Athletic Centre
are all good, to say the least.
Philadelphia seems to be a lively, compact city, and the downtown area in which the tournament hotel is located has everything you could want within easy walking distance. The University is just 20 blocks down Market street - turn left out of the hotel and you're entering the Athletic Centre 5 minutes later on the underground or 15 minutes walking.
The new part of the centre has the two traditional courts where some of the men's qualifying matches will take place, including Drexel's own head coach John White
against Saurav Ghosal
, and two floors up in the older part of the complex you enter the Dragons' Den.
It's a huge area, the McWil court that has just finished going up looks lost at the moment, but there's more seating to go in, taking capacity up to 1,200, dividing curtains, the players' zone, the retail village, the 'squash zone' where visitors can test their power and accuracy (John White is first in the queue), are all to be added or finished.
It's going to look very different, and very impressive, by the time we get the first glass court match under way at noon on Friday.
The walk back to the hotel revealed some of the work that event director Conor O'Malley
and his team have been doing in raising the profile of the event in Philadelphia, with banners and posters on pretty much every corner. As well as big efforts to put the event at the forefront of Philadelphia's collective mind, all of Drexel's 12,000 students are invited to the opening day free of charge - let's hope they don't all turn up at once!
The evening stroll also revealed any number of landmark buildings or architectural features - we're going to have fun with the camera this week, that's for sure.
Qualifying gets under way at 16.30 at Drexel and 17.30 at three other Philadelphia Clubs on Wednesday - we'll bring you what we can but don't expect miracles, only Dragons can perform those ...