People often asked me what my favorite sporting event to go to is, and the answer always surprises them: the U.S. Open. And it’s not because I’m a huge tennis fan or anything. I’d rather go to a Celtics NBA Finals game (or see the Red Sox in the World Series, Bruins in the Stanley Cup, Pats in the Superbowl etc.) than attend a championship match at the Open. In fact, at the U.S. Open I prefer not going to big matches. What makes it so great is all the stuff you can see outside of the main center court stadium.
First of all, it’s basically just one giant outdoor party. There’s bars and food vendors all over the place; even if you never see a minute of tennis you can have a good time walking around and hanging out enjoying a nice summer day. If you go early on in the tournament there are matches being played all over the place on 17 different courts. Because most people watch what’s happening in the stadiums, you can often see some excellent players from just a few feet away on the side courts. All you have to do is stroll right up and grab a seat in the bleachers next to the court. And when you get tired of one match, you can just make your way over to another. Usually I’ll just watch bits and pieces of several different matches.
And it goes all day. Play begins at 11 am, and lasts long into the evening. They sell separate “night session” tickets to Arthur Ashe stadium, but if you’re already on the grounds you don’t have to leave; you can stick around and watch as long as they are still going on the outlying courts. Throughout the day there’s also players practicing on any number of side courts, usually with next to nobody there.
Oh yeah, and if you want you can always read what it says on your ticket, go to your seat, and just watch from the stands like you do at other sporting events.
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