Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen
Valerie Simpson and
US OPEN 2004
It’s The Highest Purse
In The Sports World
Story by Roger Webster and Diane Dunne
Photos by Diane Dunne
LAN G. SCHWARTZ, president of the US Tennis Association served an impressive award statistic at the 2004 US Open when he announced, "The purse would top $17.75 million – representing the highest purse in sports."
Just before court action fired up, we ran into last year's runner-up, Kim Clijsters, at a Fila party at Bloomingdale's. Recuperating from a hand operation, Kim was a spectator during the Open.
“I'm still excited about the women's tournament because it is unpredictable,” she said. “The Russians, Americans and Belgians all look good!”
Since America's women's hopes – Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati – bowed out at the semifinals, and the Belgians bombed early in the third round, it was an all-Russian final with Svetlana Kuznetsova beating Elena Dementieva.
The American men lost during the quarterfinals, leaving the world's champion Roger Federer of Switzerland to defeat Australia's Lleyton Hewitt.
This didn't stop the Americans from coming in droves to see some of the best tennis in the world. Edgar Bronfman, Jr., chairman and CEO of Warner Music Group, summarized the sentiments of the finals: "I'm not supporting just one player, I'm here to see an exciting match."
Jack Nicholson drew as much attention as the center court action. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen also attracted many fans and willingly signed autographs on oversized tennis balls.
Tennis ace Muffie Potter Aston witnessed a thrilling match when last year's Open winner, Justine Hennin-Hardenne, surprisingly lost to Nadia Petrova.
After watching the semifinals with Alec Baldwin, Chevy Chase and his wife happily posed with NY's finest. Christy Brinkley arrived with husband Peter Cook and son Jack who plays in the USTA junior league. Another former model, Christy Turlington, watched with her husband Ed Burns. Vogue editor Anna Wintour, a strong US Open fan and tennis player, appeared on opening night.
Utah's Governor Olene S. Walker, with husband Myron, told us, "In politics, I'm proud of the inroads we females have made recently in governorship. Before 2002, there never had been more than five female governors. Today, we have 10."
Farrah Fawcett filmed on the grounds for her new reality show, Finding Farrah. Opera star Jessye Norman sang at the women's finals.
Also on hand were Cliff Robertson, Penny Marshall, Christopher Reeve, Judd Hirsch, Joe Pesci, Gene Wilder, NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, Mick Fleetwood, nattily attired in a pink cap, R&B music artists Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson who said they might consider writing a song about bad-calls from chair umpires for Serena Williams. Sister Vanessa Williams had supermodel Naomi Campbell cheering her on.