US OPEN 2004
I will be attending the U.S. Open for the first time this year. I would greatly appreciate any hints to save money and maximize the enjoyment of the experience. What are the best seats for the money? Stay in the city? Are the side courts an practice areas accessible? Stuff like that. Thanks.
If you buy a Grounds pass you will have access to all areas except Arthur Ashe stadium. You can buy a ticket to Ashe stadium as well, and have acess to all areas. You can buy the grounds pass at the ticket counter. the day you attend. Same thing for Ashe the first few days. they open at 9 AM. get there early. I was there at 7 AM and was the 3rd in line both days, I went in 2002 (attended the first two days of the open 2002 , Monday and Tuesday). If you plan to go the first week, a grounds pass is the way to go. Lots to see on the outside courts and practice courts. at those courts you are '"up close and personal". After buying your ticket at the ticket counter, you then head over to the entrance and await the opening of the gates at 10 AM. while waiting for the ticket counter and main gates to open you can get ahold of the matches for the day sheet and plan where you will be spending your time. if there is a good match up first on the grandstand or Armstrong stadium, and your there early.. meaning you are one of the first at the main entrance, as soon as they open the gates you can "race" into the grandstand and get a court side seat (open seating). same thing for Armstrong stadium except for the first few rows at court side are reserved.
I second what RobKat said. I went for the first time last year and the grounds pass seems to be the way to go. If you can get there early you can get great seats to the match of your choice (except for Ashe). The hard part is deciding which match to watch. You can end up as close to the players as you would at a high school match. Thats when you appreciate how great these players are. The first few days on Ashe seem to be mostly blowouts anyway. Top seeded players strafing qualifiers and very little atmosphere.
I went to three days of qualifying directly preceeding the tournament and that was outstanding also. You can see a lot of players who are rising in the rankings and some veterans returning from injury. I watched Karlovic, Tursunov, Enqvist, Mahut, Kirilenko and many others FOR FREE. The entire qualies are no charge. Again, the hardest part is deciding where you want to be.
A warning about the food prices on site. Everything inside seemed to me to be massive price gouging. They charge $4.50 for water that you can buy anywhere else in America for $1.50 tops. The food was just as bad. I refused to buy anything just on principle. I brought pepperoni sticks and small snacks I could keep in my pocket. Plus, sit-down meals take time away from watching the tennis.
But other than that it was a great time and I regret that I waited so long before going.
The advice above is great. Not too much to add there. Bringing your own chow is a good idea, just make sure you check to see the bring-in bag size limitations, they are enforced. Bring an extra layer and sunscreen. We went last year with night session tickets and saw Federer-Blake, Shaughnessy-Clijsters on Ashe. Awesome Fed-Blake match, incredible Davis Cup atmosphere for key games of the match. Because it was a night session ticket, we were only let in at the time on the ticket, not before, but we were free to roam around the outer courts. Great play going on there, you are right up close, and a massive jumbotron shows ongoing matches (we caught the fantastic Philipoussis-Nalabandian match still going on from the day session on Armstrong). Bonus was watching McEnroe play a practice match.
Staying in the city is a good idea, NYC is plenty of fun, and won't break the bank if you know where to go. Think the funpass price has gone up to $7 but it's still a good deal for a day in the city, though for more than one day, the weekly metrocard may be better.
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I am a tennis photographer who regularly goes to the tourney. Go the first week, more tennis. If you buy Ashe, but the cheapest, because you will probably will not spend a lot of time watching those blowouts. The good matches are on the outside the first few days. Buy tickets when you get there. Check weather, don't go if rain is likely, it's miserable. Stay in NYC for atmosphere and something to do in the evenings. BEAR IN MIND - THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION IS IN TOWN the first week and SECURITY, HOTEL BOOKINGS and TRANSPORT could be tricky!!!!!!!!
The Qualie tournament is the way to go if this is your first time. It is free admission and there are no crowds, and that makes it much more casual. It makes a world of difference exploring the site for the first time. The lines for the restrooms and concessions are non-existent in the qualies compared to the main draw. Lots of great tennis also. A chance to see the stars of tomorrow on a big stage up close and personal. The Qualie tourney runs from Tuesday through Friday. It may be good to take in a couple of qualies, Arthur Ashe Kids day, and some of the main draw.
Arthur Ashe Kids day is a kick. In the Stadium, most of the top players come out and play tiebreaks. Mostly doubles and mixed, but in a short period of time, you can see lots of tops pros hit a little. Get the best seats that you can, it is worth it to be close. There are also lots of exhibitions and booths on the outside courts. The WTT League also holds its championship that day. Good fun.
There are basically two sets of practice courts. One group of, I think four, are right out in the open. Another group of six or eight, is less accesible for fans.
Everything at the site costs through the nose. Food at convenience stores in cheap in comparison. It is a very good idea to make sure that you get a fridge in your hotel room.
Souvenirs are outrageous at the site. T-shirts go for at least $20. A burger, fries, and beer will set ya back about $15 - $20.
Be prepared for heat and humidity. It can get extreme sometimes. There is a certain way to pace yourself if this is your first large tournament. A long hot day today, can effect you for days so be prepared and be aware of the location of the sun and shade. On hot days during the main draw, shade is limited.
Have fun, awsome experience, maybe I will see you there!
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