Directions: Read the following passage and answer the question that follows.

In our mind, we have always associated some countries with particular sports – countries that are extra-ordinarily good at a sport. We may not remember the name of the country, but can certainly remember the sport that it is associated with. This association can also be in the form of tournaments and competitions held at regular intervals (mostly on an annual basis) that represent the epitome of success in a sport.

One such country is the United States of America and the sport it’s associated with is Lawn Tennis. America has produced quite a few brilliant players of tennis. Additionally, America also plays host to one of the sport’s premier tournaments – The US Open Championship. The tennis scene is changing in the US, unfortunately though, not for the good of the sport or of America. The change has come in the form of American tennis returning to the days of depression. This worrying statistic is highlighted by the fact that the number of Americans playing tennis is regressing day by day. The results of international tournaments bear testimony to this, with only a few American names in the winners list. I made a trip to the Open this week after a few years of absence, to find that the marketing whiz kids at the United States Tennis Association have gussied up the proceedings to make them more appealing to those whose interest in the sport itself may be dwindling.

The major changes that are clearly evident are that the courts have been turned blue to improve ball-visibility for players. Other attractions include new fountains and musicians to enthral the crowds with something other than tennis. A SmashZone lets kids of all ages measure the speed of their own serves and their ability to return a high-speed serve. The promoters are really excited and hopeful regarding the role of this gadget in their effort to re-popularise tennis in the US.

No one buys tickets for the Open to watch sideshows, especially when the real shows are on air. On the day of my entry, first-round matches were on display and there was a lot of entertaining stuff on offer. In a stimulating encounter, an American who has been limping his way to the court for the past few years beat a seeded player in what he said was the best tennis he had played that year. In another arousing premier tournament match, I saw an 18-year-old British youth withdraw from a five-setter after he contracted stomach ache.

The atmosphere at such an event is always electric. Add to that the flavour of patriotism shown by the many foreign visitors who flock here to support their countrymen and you have a boiling pot of emotions. Luckily, I was there to witness nationalism surge to the fore on the side courts as crowds waving flags and wearing their national colours cheered on players from Thailand, Malaysia and Brazil in languages that confused native spectators. But sport, like music, has no language and I enjoyed every bit of tennis I was witness to. There was a cliffhanger of a match that lasted a marathon 3 hours and then there was a match that see-sawed with a frequency that was too fast for comfort. There was a plethora of cultures, languages and personalities that were as diverse as the immigrant populations in the vast borough that surrounds the centre, suggesting that Queens may indeed be a superb site for an international sport.