This is an interesting idea, for the first time, any American (well, only if you are a member of the USTA, but theoretically any American), will now have a chance to play your way into the qualifying draw of the US Open, which is slated to begin early September.
USTA will be hosting a series of tournament in each USTA national sector and anybody can sign up to play; the eventual winner will be slotted inside the US Open qualifying draw competing against the world's ranked professionals.
I like this idea for several reasons. First, it's great press, they even got Olympic downhill skier Bode Miller to announce his interest in participating. Because it is open to the public, it's due to receive tons of press, and it is the perfect formula for an underdog/Cinderella story; the no name dreamer who found his/her way to the US Open, where all dreams will come true and everybody should watch how it happens.
Secondly, this increases the appeal of the US Open. Lately, the tournament has been generating less buzz outside of NYC, where it's hosted. There aren't as many top American players who can attract the nation's attention away from 10 million other things that are happening. Last year we had Melanie Oudin, and I think the tournament is gearing itself to become a sentimental symbol for the American dream, after all, if you work hard enough, and with a little luck, you can achieve ANYTHING!
Thirdly, it will be quite hilarious to see what's the level of these "amateur" player. I use a quotation because you can bet your behind that most of the entries will be teaching pros, current/ex collegiate players, and many top juniors. If this person end up doing quite well, it's good for the tournament, good for American tennis, and very amusing for me, the spectator.
All in all, this is very interesting, I'm wondering if one of my friend will enter...I hope she does