NEW YORK -- Ahead of this year's U.S. Open, Nike hosted tennis community groups, the United States Tennis Association and New York Junior Tennis & Learning for an event in Lower Manhattan. On a pop-up tennis stadium at William F. Passannante Ballfield, the young female tennis players, dubbed the "Queens of the Future," had the chance to take the court for a quintessential tennis game, queen of the court, with some of the top female professional tennis players in the world.

Tennis legends Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova took the court along with younger stars Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Elina Svitolina, Aryna Sabalenka, Carolina Garcia and Marketa Vondrousova. Grand Slam champions Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova were also there.

Williams was a surprise guest at the event, and the participants went wild when she made her entrance out of the tunnel. The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is vying for her seventh U.S. Open title, shared advice with the Queens of the Future on why sports are important.

"I think sport, especially in a young lady's life, is incredibly important," Williams told the crowd. "Staying with sports brings a lot of discipline. In your life, you might have to stick with something that's super difficult. [You get through] by things that you can go through in sports."

According to the Women's Sports Foundation, which was founded by social activist, Los Angeles Dodgers minority owner and tennis legend Billie Jean King, by the age of 14 girls are dropping out of sports at two times the rate of boys. By age 17, more than half of girls will have quit sports altogether, according to a study sponsored by Always.

Youth tennis players from the United States Tennis Association and New York Junior Tennis & Learning were named "Queens of the Future." Vikram Valluri/

As part of Nike's goal to show how sports can change everything, the female tennis pros shared their own positive experiences. Both Halep and Stephens echoed Williams sentiment, inspiring the Queens of the Future to chase their dreams.

"I got confidence from this sport," Halep said. "I have learned from this sport that we don't have to give up and we can achieve anything."

Added Stephens: "I've learned that anything is possible. I think that the biggest thing that this sport has taught me is to believe in myself and to believe in my dreams."

On Wednesday, the USTA announced the men's and women's singles seeds for the U.S. Open, the final Grand Slam of the year. The draws will be revealed on Thursday. The tournament will run from Aug. 26 through September 8.

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