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US Open Kicks Off With Lil' Bow Wow & O-Town

The United States Tennis Association today announced that Lil’ Bow Wow and O-Town will headline the sixth annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, N.Y.

CBS’ Mark McEwen will co-host the annual pre-US Open charity event. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is the official kick off event for the US Open that runs from August 27 – September 9.

“Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day has again attracted today’s top musical performers,” said USTA Chief Marketing Officer Pierce O’Neil. “The participation of O-Town, Lil’ Bow Wow and the entire tennis community will ensure that tennis fans of all ages will be treated to a full day of exciting tennis, music and fun.”

Lil’ Bow Wow, 14, began rapping when he was 6 years old, and is now one of music’s hottest acts. He recently won BET’s Viewer’s Choice award and picked up Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice award for Favorite Male Singer. His latest album, “Beware Of Dog” (Sony Music) featuring the hit singles “Puppy Love,” “Bow Wow (That’s My Name)” with Snoop Dog and “Bounce With Me,” has reached triple platinum status. Lil’ Bow Wow also recently starred in and lent his voice to MTV’s hip-hop rendition of the opera Carmen and was nominated for a Billboard R&B/ hip-hop Award.

Last year, millions of music fans tuned into the reality show “Making of the Band” to watch the creation of O-Town, from the selection of the band members to their first hours in a recording studio. O-Town’s first single, “Liquid Dreams” hit the Billboard charts at No. 1 and their current single “All or Nothing” is already top 5 on the Billboard charts and has certified their debut album to platinum status. After completing a sold-out summer tour, O-Town will release their third single and video “We Fit Together” in mid-August.

Presented by Aetna and produced by the USTA and Avellin Productions, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is a day-long festival of kids’ activities including tennis clinics, interactive games and musical entertainment. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day honors tennis legend Arthur Ashe and continues his mission of promoting education and bringing the sport of tennis to kids. Kids’ activities include the IBM Speed Zone, American Express Skills Challenge, USA Tennis clinics, Cartoon Network Smash Tennis, Nike Urban Tennis, a HERO and Wheelchair exhibition, tennis legends, face-painting and strolling performers.

Gates open for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at 9 a.m. on Aug. 25 (rain date: Aug. 26), two days before the start of the US Open, which runs from Aug. 27 – Sept. 9. The Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day stadium show will take place from 12 – 1:30 p.m. and will then be broadcast nationally by CBS on Sunday, Aug. 26, from 12 – 1:30 p.m. (ET).

The event benefits USA Tennis NJTL (National Junior Tennis League), a program founded by Arthur Ashe in 1969 to provide tennis opportunities to economically disadvantaged youngsters. Over the last five years, Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day has raised more than $2 million for charity.

Lil’ Bow Wow and O-Town, are the latest headliners to take the stage for the annual tennis and music festival. They join the likes of Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, 98 Degrees and Jessica Simpson who have performed each of the last four years.

Tickets to the event are now on sale and are available through Ticketmaster (1-866-OPENTIX) or at the USTA National Tennis Center box office. American Express is the official card of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Promenade tickets cost $10 and loge tickets, $20. Kids 12-and-under will receive either a Fila T-shirt or a Nike hat on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is free for the interactive games and clinics which will take place on the outer courts at the USTA National Tennis Center from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day will also showcase the 2001 Tyco World TeamTennis Final, featuring the top teams from both the Eastern and Western Conferences of the Tyco WTT Professional League. The finals will be held on the Grandstand Court #11 at 2:30 p.m., immediately following the conclusion of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day activities on the Stadium Court. Admission is free to the WTT Finals although there will be sections reserved for the hometown fans of the Eastern and Western Conference Champs.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day evolved from the Arthur Ashe AIDS Tennis Challenge, held from 1992-1995. In addition to Aetna, the presenting sponsor, American Express, Citizen Watch Company, Evian Natural Spring Water, Fila, Fujifilm, Greenwich Capital, IBM, Instinet, Lincoln, L’Oreal Kids, “The New York Times,” Nike, Pepsi-Cola Company, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Siemens, Tennis Magazine, United Airlines and Wilson Sporting Goods are all sponsors of the 2001 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is a USTA produced event.

The United States Tennis Association owns and stages the US Open and selects the teams that compete in Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and the Olympic Games. The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in America and is a non-profit organization with more than 625,000 members. It invests all its resources to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grass roots to the professional levels.

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