WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Heineken USA (Heineken), the official beer sponsor of the US Open (taking place Aug. 28 -- Sept. 10), is activating its renewed sponsorship of the tournament on a national level, by inviting fans to vote for the "Smoothest Champions in US Open History" with the 2006 Heineken Star Award.
The theme this year pays homage to legendary players with the smoothest wins from US Open tournaments played over the past 26 years at Flushing Meadow, while reinforcing new Heineken Premium Light's smooth taste and premium image.
Established in 1996, the Heineken Star Award is a unique Tiffany(R)-designed crystal trophy that originally recognized players who displayed the gutsiest performance during the US Open. Modified in 2003, the Award concept took a more historical and thematic approach, honoring past US Open competitors who thrilled fans with their memorable on-court play.
"The US Open represents our longest active sponsorship and the Heineken Star Award is an important part of our involvement in this prestigious and high-profile event," said Andy Glaser, Heineken brand director. "The Award theme this year pays tribute to the smoothest champions in US Open history, while complementing the introduction of smooth new Heineken Premium Light to the tournament and around the country."
Below are the six "Smoothest US Open Champion" nominees for 2006 Heineken Star Award:
In addition to winning the US Open twice, Andre Agassi is the only male player in the Open era to win every Grand Slam event as well as the Masters, the Davis Cup and an Olympic Gold. Playing in his final US Open this year, Agassi will be looking toward a rematch of his 2005 defeat by Federer.
Ranked as the ATP #1 player for a record six years (283 weeks), Sampras counts five US Open trophies among his unequaled 14 Grand Slam titles. In 1990, he overcame Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe then Andre Agassi to become (at 19) the youngest US Open champ in History.
At the age of 25, Roger Federer is already being talked about as one of the greatest players in tennis history. The current #1-ranked player in the world, Federer is also the defending US Open Champion. He comes into this year's tournament on the heels of an emphatic Wimbledon victory over archrival, Rafael Nadal.
One of the all-time US Open favorites, Connors won five Open titles. He is the only male player to have won the Open on three different surfaces: grass, clay and hard court. Connors has a unique history with Flushing Meadows, having won the very first open played here, in 1978.
Stefan Edberg parlayed his flawless serve-and-volley game into six Grand Slam victories. The Swede won back-to-back US Open titles in 1991 and '92, with the last coming against Pete Sampras, in a thrilling comeback after dropping the first set.
For a man who has many "firsts" in his career, Arthur Ashe shares a notable one with a tournament that is now played in a venue that carries his name. Ashe was not only the first African American to win the US Open; his victory here in 1968 was the first US Open ever played. He also captured Wimbledon in 1970 and the French Open in 1975.
Fans 21 and older can visit http://www.heinekenlight.com to review the nominees, view vignettes posted by Heineken and CBS and cast their votes for the Smoothest US Open Champion. Voting will open Thursday, August 24 and conclude with the last men's quarter final match, scheduled for Thursday, September 7.
The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 9 on CBS. In addition, Heineken will make a donation to the charity of the winner's
choice. Past recipients of the Heineken Star Award include Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, Carlos Moya, Todd Martin, Amelie Mauresmo, Andy Roddick and Juan Ignacio.
Now in its 15th year of sponsorship, Heineken recently announced the renewal of its sponsorship with the US Open through 2010.
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