WHITE PLAINS, March 7, 2019 (USTA Press Release)
The USTA today announced that Soeren Friemel, one of the world’s top tennis officials, has been named US Open Tournament Referee. Friemel replaces Brian Earley, who had been US Open Tournament Referee for the last 26 years before announcing his retirement from the role prior to the 2018 US Open. In addition, Jake Garner, a former Gold Badge Chair Umpire, has been named Chief Umpire for the tournament. The main draw of the 2019 US Open will be held Monday, August 26 to Sunday, September 8, with US Open Fan Week Including the US Open Qualifying Tournament beginning the previous week on Tuesday, August 20.
As Tournament Referee, Friemel will ensure that the US Open is conducted fairly and in accordance with all of the written rules, regulations and procedures. Friemel will act as the final authority on all officiating matters arising during the US Open and handle myriad responsibilities for the event, including the approval of the assignments of officials and overseeing the evaluation process of all Chair Umpires and Line Umpires.
Friemel will remain in his position as Head of Officiating for the ITF, a position he has held since 2014. Throughout his career, he has worked at the highest levels of tennis officiating. A Gold Badge certified umpire and referee, Friemel has been a Grand Slam supervisor since 2001. In addition, he has served as referee at numerous ATP and WTA tournaments, has been the referee at a Fed Cup Final and three Davis Cup Finals—including the 2018 Finals—and was a member of the Referees’ Team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Friemel served as the Chief Umpire at the US Open from 2016-18.
As Chief Umpire, Garner will be responsible for the selecting and training of more than 300 officials at the US Open. Among his many responsibilities, he will schedule the on-court assignments for officials throughout the tournament, subject to the approval of the Tournament Referee and in consultation with the Grand Slam Chief of Supervisors.
Garner holds the position of Senior Manager, Professional Pathway, Officiating for the USTA. Formerly certified as a Gold Badge Chief Umpire, Garner had a decorated career as a Chair Umpire in which he has chaired 18 Grand Slam Finals, four Davis Cup Finals, a Fed Cup Final, and the men’s Gold Medal match at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Garner was a member of the ITF/Grand Slam Chair Umpire team since 2006, retiring as a Chair Umpire in 2018. He served as Deputy Chief Umpire at the 2018 US Open.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have Soeren and Jake serve in these two roles at the US Open,” said David Brewer, US Open Tournament Director. “Their combined experience and expertise will ensure that the US Open is officiated at the highest level of professionalism and integrity.”