The golden anniversary of the US Openbrought out a glittering array of celebrities to the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center. Then again, New York tennis fans have long known that for all the stellar athletes on the court, there’s always plenty of stargazing to be done in the stands.
Opening night featured a national anthem from New York native Maxwell and a headline performance by Kelly Clarkson. Singer Gladys Knight was also among the pips who made their way to Flushing Meadows for the tournament.
Longtime Open regular—and proud Roger Federer fan—Vogue editor came out to show her support for Serena Williams, who is seeking her seventh US Open singles title (which would be a record) and 24th Grand Slam final (which would tie the record held by Margaret Court). The queen of Queens tennis did not disappoint—Williams easily won her opening round match in straight sets. And with the shocking first-round upset of No. 1 seed Simona Halep, Serena is now the favorite to win the tournament.
One of the oddest pairings in Ashe Stadium on opening night was Katie Couric and Mike Tyson. The former heavyweight champ has become a familiar face at Grand Slam events in recent years, making him the baddest tennis fan on the planet. But Iron Mike seemed no match for Couric’s soft touch. Fellow TV journalist Gayle King also came to Queens for the Open’s opening night, watching Rafael Nadal defend his 2017 title.
And just in case the battles on the court escalated to outright wars, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, was in the stands on opening day to set a civil tone.