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Young tennis fans celebrate Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day at U.S. Open

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FLUSHING, Queens — It's apparently never too soon to put a tennis racquet in the hands of a child.

"I just think its fun to see kids be athletic," said Samantha Holcman. "It's good for sportsmanship."

Holcman and her daughter were among the thousands who turned out for the 20th annual Arthur Ashe Kids' Day honoring the legacy of the late tennis great and humanitarian.

Many children were exposed to the sport for the first time.

Before his son commits to playing football, Albert Tompkins wants him to check out tennis.

"It teaches them control," said Tompkins. "I would like him to learn something beyond brute strength."

The huge pre-U.S. Open Festival at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows featured lots of activities and a chance to see superstar players including Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Simona Halep.

Most people think the U.S. Open lasts two weeks. Its actually three when you consider qualifying week just wrapped up.

That's when players with a racquet and a dream compete for a slot in the main event.

Roger Federer, the five-time U.S. Open champion is known for giving back. He auctioned off his 2005 championship racquet to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

This is the third time Alberto Quiroz has brought his kids here.

"We're big tennis fans. We watch the tournament on TV, so its kind of preparing for that and also the kids know when they watch it on TV they're excited as well," said Quiroz.