Get Your (Tennis) Game On
The US Open, the biggest pro tennis event in the United States (and one of the four Grand Slam tournaments that are the sport’s most prestigious), returns to Flushing Meadows Corona Park August 29th through September 11th. Opening night traditionally brings a lot of star power to the BJKNTC to entertain the crowds, but the line-up for the 2016 season is still under wraps. Stay tuned for details.
There have been some pretty major changes made to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the year. For openers, the long-awaited retractable roof has been completed. This means no more weather-related cancellations . . . a bonus for the players and ticket holders alike.
Actually, most of the grounds have been renovated. The changes don’t stop at the roof. The USTA says they’ve upgraded 85 percent of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center—renovating almost all of the side courts and adding seating which will increase total capacity on those courts by more than a third. They’ve also expanded walkways and added more concessions throughout the grounds. Options include Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the upscale Aces wine and sushi bar, a glatt kosher cart and even a Carnegie Deli outpost. Bargain seekers can hit the street vendors near the grounds, too, though security won’t let you enter with outside snacks.
There’s also a brand-new 8,000-seat grandstand stadium, to replace the old one slated for demolition after this year’s tournament. In the years to come, the USTA plans for a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, with a retractable roof like the one on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Though this is tennis at its highest level, you can still pay as little as $35.00 (before fees) for an opening-night or early evening session ticket. Admission for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on August 27th is only $10.00. This year’s iteration of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is scheduled to include music from Flo Rida, Zara Larsson, Forever in Your Mind and others. There will also be interactive and entertaining tennis-related fun, including appearances by Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
You can also attend—for free—the qualifying tournament (August 23–26), in which ambitious players battle for a berth in the main tournament, and practice day, August 28, when the stars hone their game in preparation for their moment in the spotlight.
Some helpful hints;
Use public transit. Parking is tough, and a spot will set you back $23.
If you are outside for a day session wear a hat and sunglasses, and apply plenty of sunscreen. Don’t forget to hydrate. Seriously!
Like other big events, the US Open has a lengthy list of what is and is not allowed. Do yourself a favor and read up to prevent that awkward moment when you’re stopped at the gate because you can’t bring your doggy in to sit with you.
You don’t need a courtside ticket to get a great view—you just need to know where to look. If you buy a grounds pass, you’ll be able to see the pros at very close range on the numerous side courts, at a fraction of the cost of a courtside seat in one of Stadiums.
Tickets for the event, and for Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, can be purchased at usopen.org, by calling Ticketmaster at 1-866-OPEN-TIX, at all Ticketmaster outlets or at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center box office.
US Open Tennis Championships
USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Flushing, New York 11368