FLUSHING, Queens–– Celebrities and tens of thousands of fans were on hand Monday night to kick off the U.S. Open.
Much of the excitement revolves around Serena Williams, who fresh off her first round victory against Vitalia Diatchenko, could become the first woman to win the Grand Slam title in 27 years.
NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky believes Williams can accomplish the feat, widely considered as one of the most difficult achievements in sports.
"What she's doing right now is really unique," Gretzky, the former Rangers star said. "You know she's got the whole country behind her. Tennis fans everywhere they want to see something so special."
Tennis buff and actress Rosie Perez also thinks she's on track for greatness.
"I feel it," Perez said. "I don't think why. I saw her the other night at karaoke. She looks beautiful, fit, steady and just completely ready."
Kelly Rowland, who rose to fame with Beyonce as a member of Destiny's Child, is simply excited for
"You never know what happens at the U.S. Open," Rowland said. "I'm always intrigued how long or short the matches are."
While the air of anticipation surrounds Williams, there's disappointment her biggest rival Maria Sharapova won't be able to contend her Grand Slam bid because of a leg injury.