THE BRONX - The 15th Annual GHI Bronx Tennis Classic was in full swing Saturday as hundreds turned out for the opening day.

The tournament, held in Crotona Park through Sunday, features more than 100 male and female professional players from more than 20 countries. Organizers say it serves as a gateway to the U.S. Open for many of them.

Bronx residents say they enjoy the chance to just lounge and watch a match. They also say the event is especially great for children who love the sport. Parents say they hope it inspires their children to pursue the game at higher levels.

Admission is free for all matches until the finals Sunday, August 19.

Organizers say all the proceeds from the tournament go to Bronx and city players in the New York Tennis League.