The Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has been pressed into service in the fight against Covid-19 and the tennis great herself has said she is “thrilled” it is being used for coronavirus relief.
Home to the US Open, the centre is being used as a 350-bed emergency hospital.
King, one of America’s most celebrated tennis players, said on CNN’s “Amanpour” on Tuesday that the Louis Armstrong Court in the complex is also providing 25,000 meals a day to first responders and their children.
The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.43 million people and killed over 82,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 800 fatalities were reported Tuesday in New York City, according to city health officials.
King, 76, stressed that it was the people working in the center, based in Queens, New York, who should be celebrated. “Every time I wake up, I go out and have coffee in the morning and these first responders are getting up to go back again and to help those people who totally need it,” she said.
Due to her health issues and age, King said she was in the vulnerable category.
“Each person has to do what they have to do so we don’t get anybody else ill and what I’ve done is self-isolated,” she said, adding that she was exercising in her apartment.
“I also have heart issues, I’m a Type 2 diabetic, so I’m at risk. “
King said she loved the nightly cheers New York residents were doing in appreciation of first responders. “It’s a moment where you stop during the day and say thank you to everyone,” the American added.
You can watch King’s interview with Christiane Amanpour on the top of this page.