I returned from the U.S. Open earlier in the week and I cried like a baby when I had to leave, not only the Open, but my beloved New York City also. It is just the hardest thing to say “so long.”
The great thing about the U.S. Open is that you don’t have to be a huge tennis fan to enjoy it. There literally is something for everyone, from great cuisine to incredible bands and other forms of entertainment in between the matches. However, the best of all is the tennis. There is just nothing like it.
This year I was blessed to get to see all of my favorites play: The Williams Sisters in doubles (I was on the second row; don’t ask me how I got such a great seat and great pictures to boot), Andy Roddick (in his third round match before his retirement), Sloane Stephens (a future champion indeed), and Maria Sharapova, just to name a few. There is just no substitute for the joy and fun I have while attending this great event.
Many of you have asked that I outline some tips for attending the Open. Please note that the comments below are based on my personal preferences and experience. As with anything, you will want to follow whatever path works best for you.
- Lodging – If it is your first time attending the U.S. Open, I highly recommend staying in Queens rather than Manhattan so that you can focus on tennis and avoid the hassle of traveling back and forth.
- However, if you do decide to stay in Manhattan, the subway station is right outside the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and Citifield Arena where the Mets play baseball. The number 7 train is a straight shot from the venue to 42nd street in Times Square. It is only $4.50 round-trip and takes less than 25 minutes. Since I adore everything about the city, including the subway, I don’t travel any other way when I’m there. It’s inexpensive, fast and cleaner than you might think.
- Should you choose to stay in Queens, I recommend the Hampton Inn. It is less than 5 minutes from LaGuardia Airport and they provide free shuttle service to and from the airport every 30 minutes. However, the best part is that they provide free shuttle service to and from the Open every 30 minutes from early morning until midnight. You really can’t beat that and since the drop-off and pick-up location outside of the subway station, you never have to worry about transportation for the duration of your trip. They also have an excellent exercise facility and many of the workers for the Open choose to stay there as well. So you’ll meet some really cool people in addition to having a good time.
- Food – This is not a concern for anyone attending the U.S. Open. There is literally every kind of restaurant and every kind of food you can think of somewhere on the grounds of this great facility. If you are not careful, you can certainly gain a few pounds, but if you are like me and watch what you eat, then you’ll be happy to know that there are some healthy options available too. I have amazing discipline when it comes to food and eating, but I must admit, those pizzas, hamburgers, and nachos that so many of my friends (old and new) consumed were hard to resist. 🙂
- Tickets – Many people buy their tickets there or via Ticketmaster the week before or the week of the event; however, I prefer to purchase my tickets in advance directly from the USTA. If you go to their website, www.usopen.org, you will see what ticket packages are available and that way, you can customize your purchase around what works best for you. The plan I prefer is the Holiday Plan which gives me admission into Arthur Ashe Stadium (the largest stadium there) for the night matches and grounds passes starting in the late afternoon. I love this plan because it gives me the freedom in the morning to do all the other things I love when I visit New York, leaving me the late afternoon and evening to enjoy nothing but tennis. However, there are many different options so review them all before making a decision as to what package works best for you.
- Seating – Another reason I like the Holiday package is because you have a specific seat in Arthur Ashe stadium for the night matches. For Arthur Ashe Stadium, you must have a specific seat. For the Grandstand, Louis Armstrong Stadium, and the outer courts, you don’t need a specific assigned seat, so when they open the gates every 3rd game, you are allowed to go in and sit wherever you want. By getting the early admission passes with the Holiday Plan, you can see some great tennis in one of those stadiums and then take your assigned seat in Ashe once the night matches start.
- Fun – The most important thing is to have fun, and if you simply attend the Open, you will have fun – no doubt about it! You will meet people from all over the world (one of my favorite things to do in life), taste foods that melt in your mouth (of the healthy and not-so-healthy variety) and enjoy yourself like you are 12 years old again. Can you tell I just love it? 🙂
I will be running in Atlantic City again this year and I can’t wait to get there. I’ve also got a great race scheduled for the Virginia Beach area this fall and of course, I’ll be back in my beloved Manhattan for Thanksgiving (be on the lookout for me at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.)
I’m getting very excited thinking about all the great changes that are happening right now in my little world. My prayer is that by year’s end, everything will be in place but until then, remember to exercise daily, maintain as clean a diet as you can, and continue to seek the will of God for your life, even when the obstacles shock, disappoint and even depress you. He is faithful and rescue is on the way!
Please keep the messages and greetings coming. I just love hearing from all of you.
See you on the race courses!