The end of August, the divide between seasons. A time when the summer season begins to fade and the real New York arrives. Galleries in Chelsea open back up in force, summer vacations become a distant memory, and the nights begin to slowly cool. It’s all a sign that the U.S. Open, the best summer send off imaginable, is once again upon us.
I’ve attended all the Grand Slams, and they are all amazing in their own unique way, but my favorite tournament, hands down, is the U.S. Open. Not only because it takes place in the most exciting city in the world, but it’s how the whole city embraces the event. For two weeks, the tournament is everywhere you go—on billboards, buses, taxis, subways, in Times Square, in the bars, and in every pizza joint—people are talking tennis. It’s great. But to attend the tournament and watch these virtuosos perform their magic up close and in person is the only way to really understand how talented these athletes truly are. Anyone who has seen live tennis will tell you it’s nothing like watching it on television. The ball moves faster, the players are quicker, faster. The crowd adds its own incredible energy. I even enjoy the train ride out to the matches from Penn Station. You can feel the sense of excitement building already fans from around the world await their train to the action.
As a native New Yorker myself, I’ve been attending the U.S. Open for the last 35 years. Some of the most memorable matches I’ve experienced have been ones on the small side courts with a simple Grounds Pass ticket. But there is nothing like a night session on Center Court. It’s a completely different feel than the day session matches. The after-work downtown city crowd arrives, everyone is a little more glamourous. As the action kicks off, you will likely see a dazzling sunset, as the sun turns into a small red ball before slipping behind the Manhattan skyline. This is another part of the incredible allure that is unique to the U.S. Open, the day to night transition.
U.S. Open tickets are available throughout the tournament for just about any budget, from the kick-back prom level seats to the celebrity packed Courtside seats. This venue proposes a spectacle of great experiences for fans of all ages as well. Even the food is unexpectedly good with a huge selection of delicious cuisine options, from a Carnegie Deli mouthwatering sandwich, to an authentic Maine lobster roll served with cole slaw and a nice glass of wine.
So don’t despair that summer is almost over, the U.S. Open, the biggest party of the year is just around the corner.
I’ll see you on Center Court!
Below is a chart of ticket prices on the secondary market over the last four years, by session:
Michael Bernstein is president of Championship Tennis Tours. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tennistours.com.
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