From Mike Janela in New York
While it's anybody's guess who will win this year's tennis US Open in New York, it's now a certainty that 2011's tournament will go down as a record-breaker.
Led by top-ranked American tennis pro Mardy Fish and top-ranked German female Andrea Petkovic, Wilson Racquet Sports organized an attempt at the world-famous USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in the Flushing section of New York City for the most people bouncing tennis balls on tennis rackets.
The record had stood for nearly five years at 383, but the combination of two tennis stars and the backdrop of a tennis major drew 658 participants of all ages to set a new Guinness World Records standard.
Interestingly, this record had been set three times before - twice in the UK and once in Australia. So it was only fitting that the first time it was set on U.S. soil was in celebration of the country's biggest tennis event, which began on Sunday.
What surprised me most adjudicating the attempt was the passion that the whole group - mostly children under the age of 12 - showed for the attempt. Obviously, any attempt at a place in history like this will draw a feverish commitment from participants.
But, despite gates opening at 7:30 a.m. and with a massive hurricane moving toward the city, hundreds of people were still in line and at the ready when doors opened.
Needing to keep their tennis balls bouncing for at least 10 seconds, there were a number of participants who were deducted from the total group after it was found they could not keep up for the entire time (Fish and Petkovic, for what it's worth, had no trouble).
But for all others, the chance to add their fabric to one of the sports marquee events is a record they can now proudly call their own.