3 Important tips for Watching the US Open Live!

    Want to see the top tennis players in the world?
    The World's best will be in NYC at the biggest Tennis Stadium in the World!

    If you're a real tennis fan, you gotta go see the US Open at least ONCE in your lifetime!  NYC Summer fun!

    It's your chance to catch a glimpse of the next Grand Slam winners!
    Below, I show you how to get the best US Open experience and tickets...

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    You'll get bite-sized nuggets of wisdom in the summer leading up to the event. So you can read it over later and take it to the US Open! It includes all the Free US Open Ticket Discounts and Tips.

    You may want to google "tennis bargains us open" for many more great money-saving tips on US Open secrets.

    My US Open experience
    I have attended over a decade's worth of Grand Slam tennis (all four).

    Been to NYC dozens of times in my life, with family and friends to see the best matches.

    The sport has given me an insider's view of all the Tennis Majors as a tennis fan, player, coach, and now as a sports media photographer and journalist.
    Use our 2-for-1 tickets promo codes to unlock discounts

    Tip for Ticket Deals: Whether it's for sports tickets or Broadway, check out the Ticketmaster Deals Page before buying!

    Now it's your turn to go without breaking the bank! Sponsors like Chase and Amex give you free perks if you know where to look for them. Lounge passes are limited but are free!

    Helping Tennis Fans
    I want to share my experiences and tips with others to get the best experience possible for new fans. Because I get asked in person all the time, it was just easier to write it down.

    As a USPTA Teaching Professional - I'm committed to making the US Open Experience fun and affordable for ALL Americans. While corporate greed is causing ticket prices to skyrocket, I want to make sure the true fans have a better chance of watching these "Sold Out" matches in real life.

    Tickets are still being bought and sold by fans, look here in July-August.
    Even these so-called "sold out" sessions will still have ones available!  The Labor Day Holiday Weekend Tickets get sold more quickly. Prices and new tickets are updated daily, so it helps to bookmark and check back!

    Our Facebook Updates keep you in the loop about upcoming schedules and player changes.

    The US Open is located in NYC from late August to early September. A great time to visit the beautiful city of New York around Labor Day and enjoy some great tennis, food, and summer fun. Below are some great tips for enjoying your tennis experience below...

    Tip #1) How to get great value out of your US Open tickets

    Which ones should you buy or avoid, and most importantly, where to look?

    Read my email tips before buying tickets!

    (Receive free US Open Advice from 10+ years from following tennis on the tour)

    In my emails, I'll cover tips for this year based on the new Ashe Roof and Grandstand Stadiums:

    Top 3 Fan Tips plus more Q&A below: 

    1) How to get great, cheap tickets but still be able to see your favorite Tennis star up close

    2) When and where to go to get Autographs, pictures with the pros

    3) Which seats you should try to choose (the best game perspective, the best pictures, the most comfortable (shaded seat) in at each stadium 

    How to get the best value on US Open Tickets
    The first thing is to buy tickets - without these, you can't go in. Figure out when you want to go and look up ALL of that day's prices. Ticket Exchange usually gives you the biggest listing so I check there first.

    If this is your first time, and you want to just experience some tennis - try to go during the first week.

    My advice given in my email list is to wait for the summer promo codesas this is when there is a good deal (around $70-90 for Ashe Day tickets) - they usually go on sale as early as May for USTA members in the past. But worry not - you can still get them as late as the month of August without a membership...

    Here is a great tennis ticket tips site with lots of US Open promo codes.

    Tip #1) Use Ticketmaster to buy them anytime and re-sell if needed 

    Ticketmaster owns all the original tickets. They are the official reseller for all US Open tickets. You won't have issues with scams and counterfeits by sticking with TM.

    My best advice is usually to wait until July-August to look for the best deals. A historical example on 8/3/10,  they released an annual code "WFANDANGOin the morning which has seats available for $12!! This was for both the 1st week and the 2nd week.

    Google "Tennis Bargains" to get other US Open promo code pages.

    There are also 2-for-1 (buy one get one free) tickets that are around $25-$35 each that are for the Upper and Lower Promenade, which is a bit closer.

    Remember: You can always email someone or sell your extra, unused ticket back using your login for Ticketmaster.

    Premium Seating at Value Prices
    The trick is to buy these cheap Arthur Ashe tickets, but DON'T sit in the nosebleeds section in Ashe!  You'll have a better view of the New York City skyline than the ant-sized players a mile below you.

    But unlike Grounds passes and Armstrong tickets that do not allow you into the main stadium court, with Ashe tickets you can go anywhere.

    Another great tip if you are buying last-minute tickets, is to check the resell Ticketmaster exchange market. This is because Ticketmaster allows fans to "auction" their unused ticket if they cannot go or if they have an extra.

    They get money back if their ticket gets sold, and you can usually get a great deal from a season ticket holder who cannot attend all sessions. Sometimes, even so-called "sold-out sessions" can be bought here. You will know the tickets are legitimate because it is sold and controlled directly by Ticketmaster. Fans can even email their electronic tickets.

    So why is the Ashe ticket better than the rest? The Ashe Roof!

    Shade and no more rainouts! Reserved seats to go back to when you're tired from walking around the giant US Open grounds with its 34+ courts and practice areas.

    All other courts (other than Armstrong and the new Grandstand stadium) have a smaller reserved seating area but most of the seats use a "first-come, first-serve" system.  This means if you get in line early (gates open at 11AM and the EAST gate is the least crowded out of all of them), anyone can literally run to the Grandstand court (3rd biggest stadium court) and get Front Row seats!

    If you're young and fast, this is great - if you don't want to have to mess with that then it's better to have a reserved seat you know you will have.

    Bonus Tip (Grounds Pass):

    If the Ashe ticket deals run out or get too expensive, then the 2nd best option is to consider getting a cheap Grounds Pass.  Why?

    This lets you tour all the stadiums except Ashe and is usually a little bit less expensive. I did this myself a few years ago and got to see a couple grand slam winners play just a few feet in front of me.

    The grounds pass also encourages you to move around. If you stay in one spot all day at the Open, you are missing the point! Check out what else is going on. Be sure to use a tennis app that has updates to the scores (Official US Open App for Andriod).

    Examples for finding the Good Match:
    • If you see a match headed for the 5th set, this might be a good one to head towards.
    • If you know some very popular players you want to see are going to be going on a side court soon, then do yourself a favor and head there early 1 match before.
    • That way you get a prime seat AND watch them warm up.
    • This gives you the best opportunity to get some great close-up pictures as well!

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    Tip #2) Where should I go first when I get there?

    Scout out the "Schedule of Play" the day before.
    Knowing the first match on each court is essential. Find your favorite match and player(s) that will start at 11 AM, then bee-line to that court! Use the US Open map to help you find it in advance.

    Players Practice Session

    To get close-up pictures and autographs, find out first which practice courts (labeled P1-P15) they are practicing on.  When they are done with their practice session, they will usually come out one side and that's when you want to be at the front of the lineIf you want a picture with your tennis hero, have a buddy stand with the camera ready to take a snapshot!

    If you want an autographed signature of your favorite star, have a pen and the item ready for which you want to be signed. Remember though, Timing is everything, if you're slow or fumbling for a pen or camera, they will usually go to the next person, or worse start walking to the locker room!

    Autograph Tips

    Buy a Blue Fine-tip/broad-tip double-headed Sharpie (black will usually fade/smudge into a green color over time). Use the fine tip on posters and tennis trading cards (these are awesome and for sale by Ace and several other companies).  I recommend getting a little business card holder and putting in the players' cards you want an autograph and you know will be in that tournament.

    My personal experience (Tim Henman)

    At the local DC tournament Legg Mason, I happen to have been in the right place and the right time for a picture with him. Go to Wikipedia and search for "Tim Henman" - his main profile picture/mugshot was shot from my camera that someone (I do not know personally) cropped and uploaded there.

    I was able to get Tim Henman to sign his player card.  He is retired now but was the former #1 British player in the world.  This can be worth a small fortune in the UK if you find the right fan.

    Watching Players Practice - up close and personal

    This is very important and some would say is even more interesting than the actual match because you get to see them hit many more ground strokes, serves, volleys, plus *trick shots* that they will never try in an actual match.  Sometimes if they are in a good mood, they will even chat with the fans and give you a souvenir.

    Also for one, sitting right up close to the "50-yard line" for a sport such as American Football might be great, but in tennis that might mean that your head will swivel left and right the whole match if you're trying to watch the ball*!

    Plus you do not want to be blocked by the umpire's chair. This is only a major factor if you are in the rows up front (up to about 5 rows back).

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    How do I see any of the Top 3 men or women players in the world...?

    Usually, when the stars practice, you will see mobs of people following them.  I would avoid getting stuck behind these people.  They also have a small army of USTA bodyguards around them, so don't try anything silly or wait in the long queues for an hour and hope that you get 1-2 pictures of him before he disappears.

    Here is the best trick to see the big stars from up close...They will almost always be practicing on P1-P5, which is just to the side of the main stadium.  Here is a map that shows you this exact location on the left side. There are also very accessible bleacher seats beside each court, and also has a view of match courts 4-6 on the other side.

    Underneath the stands is a walkway that allows fans to watch from the court level behind the players. It is also equipped with a few TV screens and score updates from other courts. A great place to spend some time out of the sun.

    But you must be very, very quiet and not disturb the players or the patrolling groundskeepers will have you removed very quickly!  To get an idea of how *close* you can get - go to Flickr and search " tennis8 Nadal".  When he comes to pick up a tennis ball, he is literally inches from you, and you can take pictures to your heart's content (without Flash, of course!).  In my opinion, he looks skinnier in person.

    If you are on a strict budget, how do you see your favorite player?
    If you plan to bring young children (ages 6-12), I would recommend that you go during the opening weekend.  This Saturday and Sunday are usually not very crowded and are very family/kid-friendly too.

    Almost all the Pros will come out to practice/play and it is completely FREE to the public.  To see what this looks like, see my pictures of the event.

    The best time to go see a lot of tennis matches and players (most of whom will not have been eliminated in an upset) is the first week or even the days just before Arthur Ashe day and qualifying matches are being played (best out of 3 sets).

    Tip #3) Where are the best sections to watch the best tennis?

    This is a very important choice that will affect your experience for the next 3,4 or even 5+ hours if you stay to watch the entire match there (remember, grand slams are the best of 5 sets).

    Be comfortable and sit in the shade if you're going to be there on a hot afternoon.

    Part of this depends on those sitting around you. Trying to crane your neck all the time to see over someone in front of you is not worth it. Just find another seat if possible. Also, please be considerate of others trying to watch around you as well!

    Court Position at all other courts
    If you are on any other court but Ashe (although up at the Promenade top-level, most people do not care), it is generally 1st come, 1st serve to the seat.  Therefore, if you see a lot of open seat choices, you should consider the following:

    Avoid Looking Directly into the Sun!
    It goes without saying, but if you get a lot of glare and heat on your face, then it will be hard to enjoy the action. Ideally, the sun is to your back or at least to your side. Bring sunglasses!

    What is the highlight shot you wish to see most?
    From years of photographing and watching tennis, you learn to scout a location first before planting yourself down.

    If the player you wish to watch is right-handed and has an amazing forehand - then the best angle to watch this shot would be somewhere between the service line and the baseline on the same side as the forehand. Note that if he/she is left-handed OR the backhand is the better shot, then you want to be on the other side.

    Learning from Watching Tennis for Different Angles

    A) Baseline Seats

    Are you viewing it as a tennis player (trying to appreciate the topspin, the speed of rallies, and tactics used in the point)?

    If so, try to get a seat near the baseline.  This gives you almost a first-person point-of-view of the rallies and also you are usually low enough to see the height they hit the ball, the amount of spin they use, etc.
    If you want to be close to the players' box (their coach, friends/family) etc, then sit near the corner.

    This is cool if you speak their language and can understand what type of commentary/analysis they are giving.  It is also a more emotional section where the die-hard fans of a player will flock and cheer more loudly.

    B) Best photographs

    If you want a view of your favorite player's facial expressions.

    If you do not mind moving your head side to side should you decide to follow a point, then up close to the 1st row, on the opposite side of the Umpire seat, is the best photo angle usually.

    This is also usually where they will have the "camera pit" for journalists and magazine photographers with press passes.  The night thing about this spot is that on every change of ends, you have a direct view of the players, and also, if your tendency is to just watch one player most of the time anyway, then you'll be either facing left or right for that game anyway.

    C) Finding Shade and Comfortable Seats

    Be cool in the shade when temps are high.

    Easy Tip: Sitting on the side with the umpire chair (West) will generally put the sun to your back.

    Look for seats in this order for most shade to least shade when this order:
    West, South, North, East.

    When you enter Ashe Stadium through the big main gates, you are facing North. When you look at the court the chair umpire's seat is on the left (West Side).

    US Open Shade Map
    (Ashe Stadium with roof)

    In 2016, Ashe Stadium got a new roof! It now provides extra shade if you are up closer to the top. The view isn't great but at least you won't sweat bullets on the Eastside. No more rainouts and also some much-needed shade for fans to hide under on those hot summer days! In 2018, Armstrong will have a roof as well.

    If you go during the morning session, I recommend that you pick a seat with the sun on your back (not in your face). In Ashe, that would be sections in the 320s to 340. This is important on hot NY afternoons because you don't want to be roasting (at least I know I don't).  On Armstrong and the Grandstand, there is usually a few rows in the shade of the bigger stadium directly adjacent to it.

    At night, the top few rows of Ashe can get pretty windy/cold, so pick your seat carefully.  Sometimes if there are empty seats in front of you, the Usher will let you sit further down.

    D) Are there two matches on Ashe/Armstrong at the same time but can't decide between the two?

    If you can afford it (or find a good deal <$200), then opt for a Loge Level (balcony seat).
    Great view of the whole court and nobody's head in the way!

    Another option is to buy a Reserved Armstrong Ticket ~$150+ ticket on a popular day (Labor Day weekend) as you'll likely get to watch a couple seeded players.


    • Get cheap Ashe tickets and sit in the front row of any other stadium
    • Check out the opening Arthur Ashe weekend to see the Pros up close
    • Find a seat near the 1st few rows near the baseline edge (but you must be quick)
      • the baseline for the player's perspective
      • corners for the coach's perspective
      • sidelines for a closer view of the photographers
    There you have it - so now go out there and enjoy the US Open!  You may want to google "tennis bargains us open" for other great money-saving tips plus the best deals and reviews on Tennis.