The 2017 US Open started with a bang on Saturday at the annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Celebration. AAKD is a celebration of music and tennis, in honor of the late tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Proceeds from the event benefit the USTA Foundation and the National Junior Tennis & Learning Network (NJTL). We love coming to this event every year because they have a knack for booking the hottest up and coming artists in music before they hit it big! (Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Backstreet Boys, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears are just a few of AAKD’s past performers!)
This year’s Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day also served as the official launch of Net Generation, the USTA’s new program to help inspire the next generation of tennis players. Net Generation provides a fun, kid-friendly format to help younger players get into the game. The next generation of American players including Frances Tiafoe, Claire Liu, Cici Bellis, & Jarden Donaldson, helped show off just how easy it can be!
Saving Forever, made up of 3 brothers from Chicago, got the stadium show started by rocking the house with their new single “Million Ways.” Their high-energy performance featured dozens of dancers on court on Arthur Ashe Stadium getting down to their blend of perfect pop-rock sounds that just make you wanna dance! Watch our interview with Saving Forever here!
New Hope Club, fresh off their Summer tour with Sabrina Carpenter, played their new single “Start Over” along with their hit “Fixed.” The guys were thrilled to be playing their first ever stadium show!
What makes AAKD so fun is that it’s all about music AND tennis! This year featured tennis icons Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Venus Williams & 2016 US Open Champion Angelique Kerber. The players competed in a skills competition to see how many targets they could hit on the forehand and backhand side, with each target hit raising money for their individual charity. One lucky participant from the NJTL also got to join the players on court and he had SKILLS – he hit almost as many targets as Roger Federer!
Sofia Carson, who co-hosted the event with Alex Aiono, took to the stage to perform her brand new single “Ins and Outs” for the first time. Sofia’s powerful voice carried throughout the stadium and brought down the house!
One fun fact we learned this week is that pop duo Jack & Jack used to play doubles together in high school! We’re sure they had a major fangirl moment when they realized they would get to perform on court on the legendary Arthur Ashe Stadium! We love that their performance took place on opposite sides of the net, as if they were playing a match. We wish we could have seen them put their tennis skills to the test! Watch our interview with Jack & Jack here!
The screaming and excitement in the stadium for boyband Why Don’t We started the moment the boys hit the red carpet before the show even started. It hit an all-time high during their performance of “Something Different” and “Taking You.” Fans throughout the 23,000 capacity stadium were loudly singing along to every word and cheering as loud as possible. We imagine this was what it was like at AAKD in 1998 when the Backstreet Boys performed!
As we said, AAKD always have a knack for booking future stars. Judging by the crowd’s reaction, look out for much more from Why Don’t We soon! We wouldn’t be surprised to see them headlining their own stadium tour one day. The boys took the time to answer fan questions and assured that they are hard at work on their upcoming album! Watch our interview with Why Don’t We here!
Co-host Alex Aiono brought down the house to wrap up the show. He gave everyone a sneak peak at his brand new single, “Falling,” which is coming out on September 15th! The multi-talented Alex played the guitar during “Falling” before launching into his hit single “Hot 2 Touch,” getting everyone in the stadium to dance along. As his co-host Sofia pointed out, Alex had actually performed on the grounds on the festival stage back in 2012! We loved seeing Alex graduate to the main stage! Watch our interview with Alex Aiono here!
This year’s AAKD was a blast from start to finish, with one of the strongest lineups we’ve ever seen. We’re already counting down to AAKD 2018! But for now, we’ll enjoy being at the US Open for the next two weeks.
Make sure to check out our interviews from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day with Alex Aiono, Jack & Jack, Why Don’t We, Saving Forever & Spencer Sutherland! Head over to Secret Fangirls on YouTube to watch them all!