Best tickets to watch practice and low-seeded courtside views for US Open?

Discussion in 'Tennis Travel' started by TimeToPlaySets, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I prefer to watch unknowns playing on side courts where I can basically watch from the first row of bleachers. Basically, I want the opposite of the stadium experience where I am in the 50th row. I'd rather watch unknowns from spitting distance, as pro tennis is pro tennis, and I want to learn from the pros by watching close up. To truly get a feel for the pace of the ball, etc.

    Exactly what sort of ticket do I need to buy?
     
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  2. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Is it safe to say that for a tennis player, he will get a lot more out of seeing 11am side matches of unknowns vs. sitting in that idiotic huge stadium with binoculars ?
     
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  3. Fee

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    Get a grounds pass, or the cheapest Ashe stadium seat, whatever they are calling it these days. Any ticket gets you access to the unreserved parts of the 3 big courts, and the outer courts are all unreserved. Some of the practice courts are outside the front gate, I think. I'm sure you can find more info if you spent a few minutes looking at the USO website and grounds map.
     
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  4. egn

    egn Hall of Fame

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    buy a ground pass and get there early
     
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  5. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    Grounds pass. Go early in the tournament i.e. first few days. Lots and lots going on.
     
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  6. Jack the Hack

    Jack the Hack Hall of Fame

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    As the others have said, a grounds pass is all you need.

    In my opinion, the best court for what you are looking for is the Grandstand, attached to Armstrong stadium. It's a small, intimate setting with great views on a first come, first served seating basis. Get there early enough and you can get front row seats right behind the court. They always have seeds ranked in the 8-16 range, or other interesting match-ups there. When we went to the Open in '06, we watched Djokovic vs. Young in the first round, sitting right behind the court (5th or 6th row), and later moved down to the front row for Baghdatis vs. Berrer and Mofils vs. Russell. Check out the Grandstand now, because it's unfortunately one of the courts the USTA is demolishing in a couple years as part of the National Tennis Center redesign.

    If I remember right, courts 4, 7, and 11 usually have some seeded players and interesting matches scheduled also. The seats are predominately on the side for these courts, but they are unreserved also. We also watched Berdych on 11 from close up, and Gasquet from the front row on 7.

    One of the places that wasn't in use when we were there was Court 17, which looks like a small mini-stadium that was added last year (I think). I don't think you need special tickets for that, and it looks small enough for great views from what I've seen on TV. Christina McHale and Donald Young had some breakthrough matches on that court last year.

    Download a schedule on the morning of the day you go, and plan out which matches you want to catch. If you know who you want to see on which court, get there early, and you'll get a good seat. If a court is packed, don't worry. On the first few days, so many matches are going on, spectators move from court to court, so you can usually get a good view of the matches by moving up seats as people leave.

    Here's a link to the 2012 facility map:

    http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/2012_Grounds_map4.pdf

    The practice court views are not as good at the Open as they are at Indian Wells, Miami, or Cincinnatti. This is one of the things that the USTA is changing with the upcoming redesign, making the practice courts more accessible for fans to watch. You still will be able to see the players practice in New York this week, but it won't be super close up unless the players you want to see are assigned to practice courts 4 or 5 near the west gate. We saw Navratilova on practice court #5 when we went (she was playing the mixed doubles at age 49 and won it with Bob Bryan that year!!!) and her hands were amazing. We also saw Nadal and Nalbandian, but they were assigned to practice court #1 and it was hard to get a good look.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
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  7. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    After 1 hour of play, it was rained out today, and I left, but this was an great event anyway. Any tennis fan should make a point to see something like this. Go early, watch them warm up. I stayed on the side courts, and was basically sitting ON the court. This was a better view than trying to watch a local high school match. No joke.

    The general admissions tickets were selling for more than the Ashe tickets, so I got that for $60. I didn't go into the stadium.

    I got there at 9:30. No traffic. 10am gates open. 11am start.

    If you don't bring a bag, you can walk right in. No line if you don't have a bag/purse. I wore cargo shorts. Pockets stuffed with sunblock, sunglasses, snacks, umbrella, and cell phone.
     
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  8. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Last year, I got cheap session 1 Ashe tickets for $60 and loved watching outer court matches.
    I don't even know if this price was above face, face, or below face....
    What is usually face value for general admission or a cheap Ashe ticket?

    For this year, I am wondering if I should use my USTA early discount
    or just scalp something in Stubhub the day before (giving me some flexibility and weather planning)
    I am leaning to just buying another last minute Ashe ticket for $60, like I did last year.

    Also, anyone know why ground passes cost more than Ashe tickets, when being resold on Stubhub?
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
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  9. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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    come for the qualies. its free and the tennis is almost as good
     
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  10. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    Oh, that's right! That is just as good for me.
    I just love the vantage point, not the actual players. They're all the same to me: Pros.
    I love the daytime aspect, I love outdoor aspect, and I love the bleachers on the court aspect.
    I never even went into Ashe.

    Where can I find info on the qualifiers. Free is a nice perk.
    And, I bet ever fewer crowds!
    Are there major differences in going to qualifiers? Different times?
    Can I move between matches like early round days?
     
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  11. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    Yes Qualifying is free which is great..But if you live outside NYC it's around $28 tolls (without ez pass) $15 to park in a lot and more for food if you don't bring it..So easily still a $50 day... BUT STILL WORTH IT
    i stopped going to the main draw due to overcrowding..there's nothing worse than ushers holding up spectators entering some side courts.
     
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  12. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I am paying tolls and parking either way, so it's $60 per head we save.

    Yea, the best part of last year was watching unknowns from 3 row bleachers that were basically on the court. I was closer to the player than the net was.
     
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  13. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

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    From low to high, qualifiers the week before main event, free
    Ground ticket in first and second round
    Cheap Ashe tickets. Sometimes there are protional offers from ticket venders and credit cards etc.
     
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  14. comeback

    comeback Professional

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    ok lets all meet at the top right corner of Court 7
     
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  15. Tshooter

    Tshooter Hall of Fame

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    Where can I find info on the qualifiers.

    >>>From me. Closer to the event the USTA site will mention it.

    And, I bet ever fewer crowds!

    >>> In the past 5-10 years it has gotten much more popular and sometimes the matches will feel just as crowded as a match week 1 of the main draw. But as far as people onsite ? I would Guesstimate if there are 25,000 (with Ashe. Armstrong and GS probably sucking up 50-70% at any given time) for a regular main draw week one day there are 5,000-8,000 for the qualies but I do not believe the USTA tracks it or at least it's not reported.

    Are there major differences in going to qualifiers?

    >>
    -- transport whether driving and parking or LIRR/No.7 is much less hassle during qualies

    -- the entire tone is much more relaxed during qualies.

    --Autographs easy to get during the qualies. Not so easy during the tournament.

    --Easier to see top players practice during qualies when Ashe (media only), LA, GS and 17 are used exclusively for practice. During tourney many use the practice courts by the West Gate, which are atrociously fan unfriendly.

    --the food court people don't really have it together during qualies yet

    -- only a few of the food places are open and none of the restaurants though last year they hadn't completed the new place by ct 6 so not sure if that will be open this year during qualies.

    --only a few (maybe none early days, I forget) of the booths selling tennis (and sometimes not tennis) related things

    --no daily entertainment (other than the tennis)

    --All the mens matches are 2 out of 3 compared to 3 out of 5. You have to get two fields of 128 down to 16 in four days so there are more matches per day going on during qualies.

    --All the action is on the field courts (no Ashe, LA, GS or Ct 17) unless something like rain makes them use 17/GS

    Different times?

    >> Basically the same.

    Can I move between matches like early round days?

    >> No once you sit you are committed to that seat for the entire session which can go very late. Of course you can move around. It is a tennis tournament not a prison. The court assistants are a bit more relaxed about moving into seats during play.

    >> you get to see M Larcher deBrito. She rarely qualifies and she is one of the best shows in tennis
     
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  16. thejackal

    thejackal Hall of Fame

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  17. bluescreen

    bluescreen Hall of Fame

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    This. I stopped going to the main draw a few years ago and only go to qualies now. I can make it out for two or three days worth of matches for relatively cheap.

    You can watch the low ranked guys battle it out for a qualifying spot, or sit in the front row of Armstrong or the grandstand and see the big timers practice (Nadal regularly practices on Armstrong, but don't hold your breath for Federer).
     
    #17
  18. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    It's that time of year.
    What dates do the qualifiers run?
     
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  19. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    The 2013 US Open runs from Monday, Aug. 26, through Monday, Sept. 9.

    The schedule of play for the 2013 US Open Qualifying Tournament – which takes place from Tuesday, Aug. 20, through Friday, Aug. 23 – will be posted when it becomes available Monday, Aug. 19.
     
    #19
  20. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I am going on tomorrow Wednesday. Matches start at 11am, so I will try to arrive around 10:30. Leave the house at 9:30 and miss rush hour.

    Do qualifiers have long lines to check backpacks? Should I just just fill my pockets with nuts and a camera, and walk right in empty-handed like I did for regular matches? Or are the lines non-existant during qualifiers? I am going with women, and you know how they like having their bag/backpacks.

    Any other tips?"
     
    #20

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