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Join this queer-inclusion event in New York ahead of the U.S. Open

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Nick McCarvel hosts a fun and important LGBTQ-inclusion tennis event Aug. 23.

Brian Vahaly played on the ATP Tour until 2007 and came out publicly a decade later.
Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Leading up to this year’s U.S. Open, a unique event will bring together out LGBTQ people in and around professional tennis for an evening of conversation and fun.

Hosted by out tennis media personality Nick McCarvel and Housing Works, “Open Playbook: Being Queer & Out in Pro Tennis” will take place the evening of Aug. 23 in New York City at the Housing Works bookstore. In addition to McCarvel as host, the event will feature out former tennis pro Brian Vahaly (among others in the sport) and some tennis-themed drag queens. Like ya do.

The event will support Housing Works and New York Junior Tennis and Learning.

McCarvel, who shared his story with Outsports almost two years ago and who covers tennis and the Olympics for USA Today and NBC among others, said this event is an important passion project for him.

“I’ve been thinking about doing an event like this for a long time and am so ecstatic to see it all coming together,” McCarvel told Outsports. “It’s a celebration of queer culture and tennis in one night near the eve of what is the 50th U.S. Open of the open era.”

Featured at the event will be Vahaly, the former top-100 professional tennis player who came out publicly as gay last year. Vahaly is the highest-ranking male pro tennis player to come out publicly. Bill Tilden was known to be gay in the first half of the 20th Century, but he never discussed it publicly.

“Having competed in the college and professional tennis ranks, there were never any role models or discussions happening that would have allowed me to better understand myself and my sexuality,” Vahaly said. “At times it felt like a very isolating experience. Events like these encourage us to have an open dialogue and make it easier for the next generation of athletes to feel that they are not alone.”

The event has already drawn some attention in the tennis world, with current world No. 6 Kevin Anderson, the runner-up at both last year’s U.S. Open and this year’s Wimbledon, offering praise:

If your’e not going to be in New York on Aug. 23, don’t fret. You can follow the festivities on the No Challenges Remaining tennis podcast page on Facebook.

Tickets to the event are $10, or two for $15. You can purchase tickets online or at the door.

You can follow Nick McCarvel on Twitter @NickMcCarvel, or on Instagram @nickmccarvel.

You can follow Brian Vahaly on Instagram @bvahaly.