Game Set Match ~ The U.S. Open

Ah, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, an annual summer affair for Queens New York City.  While I only played tennis recreationally as a kid (note, tennis camp, rallying with the family, and occasional matches on vacation), I didn’t know much more about the sport.  Sure, everyone knows Wimbeldon, but who knew that there were hard courts, grass courts, and even dirt courts?  Starting around 1987, the U.S. Open has been set as the fourth and last tennis match to accumulate in the Grand Slam.  Players set out to obtain this glorious title, first with the Australian Open, French Open, and then Wimbledon.

IMG_7759This glorious event is held out in one of the five New York boroughs – Queens – and right off the 7 train.  If you are lucky enough to own a car and don’t have to navigate the packed, sweaty public transport, I recommend that you do in fact drive to the event.  Sure, there’s parking to think about but since this is usually held around the last week of August and first week of September, the heat and humidity is well in full-swing.  From my perspective A/C car is looking mighty fine.

IMG_7758Like I said, the entire tournament is hosted out in Queens in Flushing Meadows, which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Big Apple island thanks to the 7 train. The entire event lasts a couple of weeks, but prices are generally better earlier on in the tournament.  Also keep you eyes out for Groupon or other discount sites that help make the event affordable and family friendly.

IMG_7765IMG_7775IMG_7773This particular arena is packed with eating and shopping options galore.  The good ‘ol Ralph Lauren has you covered in terms of wardrobe, something particularly important with the level of humidity out there.  We were just arriving to the venue at 7pm but I’m sure if I had been there all day, I would have needed a new pair of clothes or at least a fresh shirt.

IMG_7769IMG_7770^^ Collecting t-shirts and hats has become a family hobby and makes for the perfect souvenir.  Long gone are the days where I stocked up on keychains or frivolous stuffed animals, (Not bashing on the toys, I’ve just learned that my tiny New York apartment can only handle so much love) and so onto baseball caps I go!  It’s a fun way for me to connect with my dad because the man can be quite particular about clothes and styles.  However, I know that a baseball cap (and this style in particular) is a winner!

Actually funny story about purchasing swag.  We were walking back to the 7 train after the event had ended and one friend commented “I just don’t understand why someone would spend $26-30 on a shirt or hat”.  Well, you just met one. Me.

IMG_7774As mentioned, we decided to attend the night session, which started around 7pm.  We also decided to select tickets for the opening session which meant we saw the opening ceremonies (not nearly as much of a production as the Olympics but still decent) as well as Serena and Nadal!

IMG_7778IMG_7776^^ First up, FOOD.  I was impressed by the selection of options in the food court – from shredded pork nachos to salads, salmon sandwiches to cold-pressed juice by Juice Press.  The more time you have to wander the better but we were cutting it close to show time.

The main events are housed in the 22,547-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium – named after the African American tennis player who won the men’s final of the first US Open in 1968.   Next up is the the Louis Armstrong Stadium, and Grandstand.

IMG_7779IMG_7783^^ Opening words from Mr. Mayor (hm, do you think he will ever show up to our November Project workout RIGHT OUTSIDE HIS HOUSE??) and Ms. Billie Jean King.

IMG_7786^^ Somewhat odd serenade/opening by Josh Groban and then it was time for some tennis!

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Short and easy win for Serena when her opponent Diatchenko was forced to retire due to a running injury.  It would have been nice to see her play a bit longer but we still had a couple hours left in the night to watch the men’s first round.

IMG_7807

IMG_7810 IMG_7811IMG_7814 IMG_7815There have been a number of awesome matches thus far, including Monday’s Murray vs. Isner match, which lasted 4 hours and 18 minutes!! I can’t even imagine playing that long or actually sitting that long! Not sure which is tougher 😉

Then, there was last night’s match with Venus vs. Serena.  Tonight we move onto more quarterfinals with Federer and Gasquet at 8pm EST.   For those sans cable, you can watch right along with ESPN3 or download the TuneIn App for your smartphone and listen as you work or maybe go to bed!  All notes and recommendations are my own finds, no endorsements…unfortunately.

IMG_2121“Champions keep playing until they get it right” – Billie Jean King

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