United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, upon returning from the G20, took a break from world affairs to enjoy the US Open men’s singles championship from Tennis Channel’s suite in Arthur Ashe Stadium Sunday. A personal guest of network president Ken Solomon, whom the Secretary-General knows through a mutual friend, Ban and his wife Soon-taek watched as Stan Wawrinka beat defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to his third Grand Slam title and first US Open crown. Wawrinka defeated Djokovic in four sets, 6-7, 6-4, 7-5 and 6-3, leaving the Swiss player just a Wimbledon title shy of completing a career Grand Slam.
Sunday, in addition the Secretary-General, Solomon’s championship guest list included top-rated daytime television host Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife Robin (a New York Times best-selling author in her own right), as well as “Homeland” TV stars Damian Lewis and Hill Harper (also of “Billions” and “Limitless,” respectively), and pop-star sensation Redfoo, along with tennis Hall of Famers Rod Laver and Stan Smith. Laver won the tournament’s singles title in 1962 and 1969, while Smith was victorious in the 1971 US Open singles final.
“Our Tennis Channel US Open suite has been a microcosm of tennis’ unique ability to unite people from different walks of life and talents,” said Solomon. “Everyone from Hall of Famers like Rod Laver – who also celebrated our “Barnstormers” documentary about the founders of pro tennis – to Redfoo – whose father Berry Gordy surprised him with birthday tickets – is seemingly connected by this great sport. It’s amazing to look in one direction and see Dr. Phil and then stars like Damian Lewis or Hill Harper at the other end of the same row of seats.”
Ban’s visit punctuated two weeks of notable guests in Tennis Channel’s US Open suite, with media executives, musicians, actors, financial titans and tennis legends among them This included musicians Joshua Bell (violinist), Larisa Martinez (opera singer), and Emanuel and Yoko Ax (husband and wife pianists); visual artists Chuck Close (painter/photographer) and Sheila Bridges (interior designer); media leaders David Zaslav (Discovery Communications president) and Sara Marks (Vanity Fair director of special projects); and investment strategist Aryeh Bourkoff. Additionally, Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova, Jim Courier and Tracy Austin, along with Mary Carillo, Jon Wertheim, Mark Knowles, Paul Annacone, Brett Haber and others, periodically visited the suite when not on the air covering the US Open for Tennis Channel.