With the U.S. Open starting on Monday, tennis fever is once again sweeping across the city. Over the next two weeks, thousands of New Yorkers will hop on the 7 train or the Long Island Rail Road to watch the likes of Roger Federer and Serena Williams play in Flushing Meadows at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. However, prior to 1978, tennis players and fans found themselves playing and cheering at a different venue: The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.
The West Side Tennis Club was the former home of the U.S. Open. Founded in 1892 in Manhattan, the club moved to Forest Hills in 1913, where it played host to many great moments in tennis history. Following the U.S. Open’s relocation, The West Side Tennis Club faced a number of challenges and retreated from the spotlight. But after years under the radar, the club’s president Roland Meier and tennis director Bob Ingersole are helping The West Side Tennis Club re-emerge as a major player on the tennis scene.
We recently spoke with Roland and Bob to learn how history and modernity mix in Forest Hills.