By P.J. Simmons  Note: I originally posted these tips in 2012 but continue to update them based on new learnings and feedback from readers. At the advice of a fellow tennis fanatic/blog expert (who knows how much I spend on tennis!) I finally added “affiliate links” for ticket sites I had been recommending for years. This way, ijf you end up getting a ticket through one of my links you won’t pay a penny more but the seller may give me a small commission versus giving it to Google Ads or another referring site — which, in turn, helps support my tennis obsession and The Tennis Congress, a passion project I do on the side of my regular job. I appreciate the support!


A SERIOUS TENNIS FAN’S TOP 10 TIPS FOR THE 2018 US OPEN

Updated September 5 2018 (** See “Important 2018 Updates” box for key updates specific to this year’s tournament) 

The 2018 US Open tennis tournament (August 27- September 9 2018) will be my 11th consecutive year at Flushing Meadows, and I’ve learned a ton through trial and error about how to maximize the opportunity, find the best tickets and seats, and generally get the biggest bang for the buck. Likewise, I’ve learned so much thanks to fellow fans around the world who have shared their own insights since I wrote the first version of this about 5 years ago.

As a serious tennis player and fan myself, I feel so lucky that the US Open is in my backyard. I absolutely love the tournament, and find nothing more educational and inspiring for my own game than seeing world-class live tennis. Below are my top 10 recommendations for serious tennis fans like me.

In a rush and need quick answers?

This blog has expanded over the years to include a lot of detail that fellow fans have asked about. Here are shortcuts to the FAQs I get most often:

  • How can I be sure to see Federer (or Rafa, Nole, Zverev, Serena, Sloane, etc)? FAQ #1
  • Can I predict who will play on a specific day or night? FAQ #1
  • Please explain the ticket options – I’m confused! What does each ticket entitle me to? Day vs. Night sessions? Reserved vs. Grounds tickets? Ashe vs. Armstrong or Grandstand? What time can I enter? Can I enter and re-enter? Box #1 
  • Where to get the best deals on tickets? Box #2  
  • Should I buy now or wait? Will prices go up or down? FAQ #3
  • Which seats have the best view? FAQ #7
Tip #1

Do whatever you can to see world-class players and great matches up really close— which if you’re on a budget may mean bypassing Arthur Ashe stadium in favor of the sixteen other courts where matches are played. 

For my first US Open, I spent about $250 per ticket for a decent seat during early rounds in the famous Arthur Ashe stadium (1/2 way up in the Loge section) so I’d be guaranteed to see at least one Top 10 player live. While it was certainly thrilling to experience the electricity of an evening at Ashe stadium, I still felt somewhat distant from the action (it’s a mammoth 23,700-seat venue) and spent much of the time watching the match on the huge video screen. Moreover, because the tournament prioritizes putting the biggest stars on Ashe over the best match-ups, the matches I saw weren’t terribly exciting.

Since then, I’ve become addicted to the unparalleled thrill of seeing many world-class competitors from a few feet away in epic duels on several of the smaller non-Ashe courts (Louis Armstrong Stadium, the new Grandstand Stadium (behind courts 4-6), the very cool Court #17, and other courts #4-#16). Once you have this experience you’ll be addicted too. While it’s rare that you’ll see the Top 5 players on those courts, you WILL see other awe-inspiring players in very competitive matches. A collateral benefit: you’ll be ahead of the curve in seeeing the rising stars, and feel the excitement of “discovering” new talent to cheer for. I’ll never forget the first time I saw Milos Raonic blast a tournament record 145 MPH serve from the first row of the old Grandstand. Or, in more recent years, when I saw next gen players like Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Dominic Thiem, Sasha Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Karen Khachanov, and Borna Ćorić up close for the first time.

And if you play it right, you may just see one of the biggest stars up close: In 2011 I saw Novak Djokovic from the second row at Armstrong (yes, I took the photo above of Djokovic and wasn’t using a zoom lens!).

Tip for serious players: After watching a ton of pro matches, I started challenging myself to watch more deliberately from the perspective of a player who wants to improve. I wrote down ten ideas for watching a pro match that may resonate with fellow fanatics who not only want to enjoy the drama of the match but also learn from it.     

BOX #1: UNDERSTANDING YOUR TICKET OPTIONS & HOW THE SCHEDULE WORKS


The Basics

First-timers, please read this important background first!

  • ANY type of DAY session ticket (i.e. a reserved ticket for either Ashe, Armstrong, or Grandstand Stadiums or a Grounds Admission ticket) enables you to enter the US Open grounds anytime after 9:30 am and stay as long as you like. (Note: Entry time is 11:00 am on Finals weekend).
    • To enter the grounds, you must first pass through security and have your ticket scanned at the East Gate or South Gate (see map above). If you have a reserved seat in a stadium, you’ll have your ticket re-checked upon entering that stadium. You can arrive at any time and enter and re-enter that stadium as often as you like.
    • You can exit and re-enter grounds as you wish. However, Day session ticket holders must enter before 6:00 p.m.
    • Once you’re in the grounds, you are entitled (with any kind of ticket) to line up for unreserved seating for any stadium at any point in the day or evening EXCEPT Ashe (Ashe requires a reserved ticket – there’s no unreserved section in Ashe).
    • Ashe Day matches start at Noon on most days. Day matches on all other courts (including Armstrong) start at 11:00 a.m.
  • EVENING session tickets are available in the form of reserved seating in Ashe and Armstrong Stadiums only. They enable you to enter the US Open grounds anytime after 6:00 p.m.
    • Ashe and Armstrong Evening Matches start at 7:00 p.m.


Details on Each Ticket Option

There are three types of tickets: (1) Grounds Admission; (2) Day Session Reserved (for Ashe, Armstrong, or Grandstand Stadiums); and (3) Evening Session Reserved (for Ashe and Armstrong Stadiums only) 

(1) GROUNDS ADMISSION (listed as “Billie Jean King National Tennis Center” on Ticketmaster, sometimes called “Grounds Pass” on reseller sites).

  • Allows entry at 9:30am
  • Gives access all day and night on a first-come/first-served basis to unreserved seating on all field courts and practice courts, plus access to general (unreserved) seating in Armstrong Stadium (the 2d largest) and Grandstand Stadium (the 3d largest) BUT NOT TO ASHE STADIUM (the biggest stadium and where thy put on the biggest “stars” to play).
  • Sold only for first 8 days of tournament (through Monday Sep 3).
  • Note: I generally recommend (strongly) buying a cheap Ashe Promenade seat instead of a Grounds Admission ticket for around the same price if availableit gives you the same exact benefits but with the very important additional benefit of “rain insurance” since Ashe has a roof (see “Tip #3” below).

(2) DAY SESSION RESERVED SEATS OR ASHE, ARMSTRONG, OR GRANDSTAND STADIUMS

A reserved seat in ANY of these three stadiums grants you exactly the same privileges benefits as Ground Admission (see above) PLUS a reserved seat in either Ashe, Armstrong, or Grandstand Stadium. You can leave and reenter your reserved seat as many times as you’d like. Day session ticket holders must enter the grounds before 6:00 p.m.

A. Arthur Ashe Stadium DAY Session Reserved
— Same benefits as “Grounds Admission” PLUS a reserved seat in Ashe Stadium (the largest “main stage” with 23,771 seats) for DAY session only
— Allows entry to grounds at 9:30 am Mon Aug 2 -Wed Sep 5; and 11:00 am on Finals Weekend (Fri Sep 7-Sun Sep 9).
— Sessions will begin at Noon and feature two matches. You can enter and re-enter at any time. 
— You must exit Ashe stadium after the second match ends (around 6pm), but can still stay on grounds as late as you want.
For the last three days of the tournament (Friday Sep 7-Sunday Sep 9), there is no separate evening session on Ashe– so a Day session ticket gives you access to all matches scheduled for that day

B. Armstrong Stadium DAY Session Reserved
— Same benefits as “Grounds Admission” PLUS a reserved seat in the new Armstrong Stadium (the 2d largest stadium after Ashe, with 14,000 seats).
— Allows entry to grounds at 9:30 am
— Sessions will begin at 11am and feature three matches.
— You must exit the stadium after the third match ends (around 6pm), but can still stay on grounds as late as you want.
— Reserved seats are the only way to access the best courtside seats
— Sold only for the first 9 days of the tournament (through Tuesday Sep 4).

C. Grandstand Stadium Reserved
— Same as Grounds Admission PLUS
 a reserved seat in the lower rung (reserved only) section of Grandstand Stadium. This stadium debuted in 2016 and is awesome – all seats are great. It seats about 8,000 (located behind courts 4-6).
— Allows entry to grounds at 9:30 am
— Sold only for first 8 days of tournament (through Monday Sep 3).

(3) EVENING SESSION RESERVED SEATS FOR ASHE OR ARMSTRONG STADIUMS

Entitles you to enter the grounds after 6pm plus get a reserved seat in either Ashe or Armstrong stadium for the evening session beginning at 7pm.

A. Arthur Ashe Stadium EVENING Session Reserved 
— Sessions will begin at 7pm and feature two matches (entry to stadium allowed around 6pm, soon after day session has ended)
— Sold on first 11 days of tournament (through Thurs Sep 6) – after which only Day session tickets are sold

B. Armstrong Stadium EVENING Session Reserved
— Sessions will begin at 7pm and feature two matches.
— Sold only for the first 6 days of the tournament (through Saturday Sep 1).

Common Confusions about Entry and Re-entry
  • Once you enter the Grounds of the US Open through the East or South Gate, you can stay as long as you want and access non-reserved seating in any stadium (except Ashe, the only stadium where every seat is reserved and requires a ticket)
  • If you have a day and evening ticket the same day, you will NOT need to exit the US Open grounds and re-enter again
  • If you have both Day and Evening session for Ashe on the same day, you will need to exit and reenter Ashe Stadium (they clear the entire stadium between Day and Evening sessions)
  • If you were in Armstrong for the Day session (either Courtside reserved or GA seating), you will need to leave your seat between Day and Evening sessions (as they clean up). However, you may stay inside the concourse area of Armstrong (the inner-stadium areas with food stands). As such, if you were in the stadium for Day and want to line up for GA seating for Evening session, you have an advantage: you can stick around and wait in line upstairs until ushers start letting people back to seatsIf you leave the stadium during this “in between” period, you won’t be allowed to re-enter for a brief  time (They don’t allow anyone new to come in for a period while they’re cleaning up).

IMG_9312.JPG

** I took the photo above at the 2016 US Open from a corner courtside seat in Ashe watching the Nadal-Pouille round of 16 match on Labor Day.



2018 US OPEN SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE

Below is the overall tournament schedule – See also the 2018 Daily Schedule of Play

Want to know which players might play on which days or nights? See my FAQ #1 below

Before you buy tickets, I strongly recommend reviewing last year’s 2017 Daily Schedule of Play (and 2016 schedule of play) to get a sense of what kind of matches you’re likely to see on particular dates on which courts. However please note changes for 2018: Ashe Day and Night sessions will each feature 2 matches. Armstrong will have separate Day and Night sessions on the first 6 days (3 matches during Day session and 2 and Night).

Qualifiers and Fan Week

  • Aug 21-24: Qualifying Tournament play (free; check schedule here Aug 20)
  • Aug 23: (Thursday): Draw takes place at 2pm ET
  • Aug 25 (Saturday): US Open Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day; Day 1 Schedule will be announced (will be posted on the 2018 Schedule of Play page and on US Open app)
  • August 26 (Sunday): Free access to grounds, “Practice Day”

Main Tournament

  • Aug 27-28 (Mon/Tues): Men’s and Women’s (M&W) 1st Round Note: Mon Aug 27 Evening Ashe will be “Opening Night Ceremony” prior to regular matches, and Kelly Clarkson will perform.
  • Aug 29-Aug 30 (Wed/Thurs): M&W 2d Round, Doubles 1st Round
  • Aug 31-Sep 1 (Fri/Sat): M&W 3d Round, Doubles 1st-2d Round (+ Juniors)
  • Sep 2-3 (Sun/Mon): M&W 4th Round (“Round of 16”), Doubles 3d Round (+ Juniors). Note: Men’s Round of 16 Singles matches will likely be played on Ashe and Armstrong only, not on Grandstand, due to the new stadium.

Important! All remaining Singles matches beginning on Tuesday September 4 (Quarterfinals through Finals) will be played on Ashe. Armstrong and Grandstand will feature Doubles matches (don’t purchase Armstrong reserved tickets for September 4 unless you want to see Doubles).

  • Sep 4 (Tues): M&W Singles Quarterfinals (on Ashe ONLY), Doubles Quarterfinals (Armstrong and probably New Grandstand) + Women’s Doubles Semifinals + Juniors
  • Sep 5 (Wed) M&W Singles Quarterfinals (Ashe ONLY) + Doubles Quarterfinals, Women’s Doubles Semifinals and Juniors (outer courts– no reserved seats, accessible with General Admission or Ashe ticket.
  • Sep 6 (Thurs): Day session is usually free (!) and includes Doubles Semifinal, Juniors, and Wheelchair. Evening session features both Women’s Semifinals in the same session (requires Ashe ticket, one ticket for both matches).
  • Sep 7 (Friday): Mixed Doubles Final 12pm and Men’s Semifinals 4pm (Ashe Day session only, your ticket gives access to all matches). Juniors and Wheelchair on outer courts.
  • Sep 8 (Saturday): Men’s Doubles Final 12pm / Women’s Final 4pm (Ashe Day session only, your ticket gives access to all matches). Juniors and Wheelchair on outer courts.
  • Sep 9 (Sunday): Women’s Doubles Final 12pm / Men’s Final 4pm (Ashe Day session only, your ticket gives access to all matches). Juniors and Wheelchair Finals on outer courts.

Tip #2 

If you’re on a tight budget, try to attend during the tournament’s first week (Monday August 27- Friday August 31) and purchase relatively inexpensive Ashe DAY session tickets. An Ashe day session ticket will get you access to all the courts on the grounds in addition to Ashe during the day, then enable you to stay on the grounds to watch matches on all courts except Ashe in the evening (Ashe day/night sessions are sold separately). You’ll get hours and hours of tennis watching for your money, as many matches on the outer courts will go well into the evening. And if you can take a day off from work and go during these first 5 days, you won’t have to battle hordes of fans for access to the non-Ashe venues– whereas things get very crowded Labor Day weekend. 

Tip #3

Do NOT heed the conventional wisdom to buy a “Grounds Admission” pass to save money until you’ve explored whether reserved day session seats in Ashe or Armstrong are also available for around the same price! Grounds admission tickets (cheaper tickets sold on the tourney’s first 8 days that give access to all the courts except Ashe) can be a good deal, but there are often reserved Ashe Promenade-level tickets (and, occasionally, Armstrong courtside seats) available for nearly identical prices– making them far better deals. Ashe and Armstrong Day Session tickets gives you all the privileges of a “Grounds” pass with added bonuses. In particular, buying an Ashe or Armstrong reserved seat gives you rain insurance, because these stadiums both have roofs so matches cannot be rained out.

Tip #4

Go for quality over quantity. As a general rule, I encourage fellow fans to budget their time and money in ways that maximize the possibility of a few magical experiences versus a ton of forgettable ones. For instance, if you’re opting between multiple days of cheap nosebleed seats in Ashe’s Upper Promenade versus appying the same budget towards excellent seats for a couple sessions, I generally recommend the latter. (Note: if you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to spend a bit more to sit in the Loge level of Ashe versus the Promenade level, my answer is always yes).

Important 2018 Updates

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the US Open (social media hashtag #USOpen50). Here are the most significant changes and developments:

The New Louis Armstrong Stadium
  • In 2018, the NEW Louis Armstrong Stadium (#2 stadium after Ashe) with 14,061 seats and a retractable roof will replace the old stadium pictured above. This guarantees no more rain outs on either Armstrong or Ashe. The new stadium features a much-larger courtside reserved section with 6,400 seats in the lower-bowl that require a reserved ticket. The remaining seats in the upper rung (7,661) will be unreserved and open to all US Open ticketholders. Here’s the official New Louis Armstrong Stadium Seating Chart and here’s my my annotated New Louis Armstrong seating chart.
    • Update August 23: I saw Armstrong for the first time today… It’s awesome.  I literally got teary when I saw the court for the first time, because it still feels very intimate and special like the old stadium did – yet now it’s an even bigger, more exciting stage for the players and fans.
    • Big upside: the new Armstrong has much more natural shading than ever before. Upper-level unreserved seating is almost entirely shaded at all times! Courtside shading patterns are similar to those of Ashe (i.e., West section gets most shade, East gets the least). See my FAQ #4 and this photo for details.
    • The only disappointment for me is that the new Armstrong has the same number of non-reserved seats as the old stadium– so I think we can expect very long lines for non-reserved seats during peak times and high-demand matches (particularly on Labor Day weekend) just as in previous years.
New Approach to Ashe and Armstrong Scheduling
  • For the first time ever, Armstrong will feature separate Night sessions on the first 6 daysArmstrong Day sessions will feature 3 matches, beginning at 11am (Ashe Day sessions will start at Noon); Armstrong Night sessions will feature 2 matches and start at 7pm.
  • My hunch is that we will see more top-seeded players on Armstrong than ever before– perhaps even Federer in early rounds. The tournament director recently said: “With two roofs we now have the ability to rotate every top player through both [Ashe and Armstrong] stadiums. Fans want star power, but, first and foremost, we want to give every player the opportunity to compete at their best.”
  • Arthur Ashe Day sessions will now only feature only two matches (used to be three). Ashe evening sessions will continue to feature 2 matches as before.
Serve Clock
  • A new 25-second serve clock will be used for the first time, meaning players who take more than 25 seconds to serve after the last point ends will face warnings and possible point losses (details).
Tip #5

If your budget can swing it, I strongly recommend getting a courtside reserved seat in the new Louis Armstrong stadium for Sep 1-3, or in Grandstand on August 31 or September 1. (If watching Doubles is a priority, consider getting a reserved courtside seat in Grandstand for Sun/Mon Sep 2-3–however if singles is a priority, know that there’s a risk they may not schedule a men’s singles match on Grandstand on Labor Day Sunday/Monday). During this window, you’re very likely to experience thrilling matches up close that you’ll never forget on these two courts. The first time I did this in 2010 I saw a marathon slugfest between David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco from the FIRST ROW BASELINE! I had arrived that morning at 11am and left around 11:30pm at night, leaving my seat only twice for a total of about 9 minutes for rapid-fire bathroom breaks and to grab snacks so I wouldn’t want to miss a second of the action.


Videos (of various players’ forehands) I shot from Armstrong and Grandstand at the 2012 US Open

BOX 2: WHERE/WHEN TO GET THE BEST DEAL ON US OPEN TICKETS?


Individual tickets went on sale on Ticketmaster on June 11.
Even if you went online the instant tickets went on sale, you probably encountered the frustrating reality that the best seats are generally not available at face value; this is because those seats are pre-allocated to corporate sponsors or subscribers who have waited years to upgrade. If you aren’t finding what you’re looking for right away, don’t worry!

Old tickets shared by fellow fanatic Michael Levin

Here’s the good news: if you’re willing to exercise patience and do a little work, there are always good deals to be found throughout the summer. This is because (1) more and more people will end up posting their tickets for resale on Ticketmaster Exchange or other reseller sites; and (2) USTA ends up releasing more standard price tickets as the summer goes on (inexplicably, at random times). I have on many (many!) occasions found better seats on the resale market for the same or less price than standard no-fee seats.

Below are the sites that will give you access to the BEST INVENTORY of available tickets. Before buying, be sure to compare options and prices. When searching, try sorting by price, section, row… Get a sense of what the prevailing price for what you want, and when you spot a good deal, grab it!

  • (1) ALWAYS (!) check both of the following two official US Open ticket sites first:
    • 1. The official Ticketmaster US Open tennis tournament site
      This site features both (1) any standard tickets (non-resale, face value) that may be available (shows with “blue dots” on the detailed seat map for each session – most often only in Promenade, but occasionally pop up elsewhere throughout the summer); and (2) resale tickets available for immediate mobile delivery (shows as “red dots” on the detailed seat map for each session). Note: Be wary of special “US Open Premium Seating Packages” (aka “Overlook Package” or “1968 Room Package”) which often carry prices MUCH higher than better seats posted on reseller sites.  
    • 2. US Open Ticket Exchange (the official USTA reseller via Ticketmaster) This is the official reseller and where I’ve gotten most of the best deals over the years. Do not buy from any other reseller sites before checking this one first! This always has the biggest inventory and, at the very least, will give you a good “benchmark” for prices so you can recognize a good deal when you see it. Note: The main Ticketmaster site only includes resale tickets available for immediate mobile delivery, whereas the Ticket Exchange includes those AND tickets that have been verified as legitimate but have a promised-by date sometime before the event.
      • Note: One of the biggest benefits of purchasing through Ticketmaster or Ticketmaster Exchange is the incredible ease of putting your tickets back up for sale if your plans change or you decide you want to switch days or tickets later. However, you must have a US bank account to put your tickets up for resale on the Exchange; and you must purchase tickets online to resell them (tickets purchased by phone cannot be resold).
  • (2) In addition to the above, it’s always worth checking 1-2 reseller sites like Stubhub and others listed below to see if you can find an even better deal for comparable seats and inventory. If you check the official Ticket Exchange PLUS even one of the sites below to compare, you’ll get tremendous visibility into what’s available and the range of prices. As you compare, be sure to factor in any service fees, which may not appear until you get to the final order summary page.
    • Stubhub – Always worth checking in addition to Ticket Exchange given very large inventory of resale tickets (many sellers list here and not on Ticket Exchange)
    • Ticket Liquidator – Large inventory of resale tickets, however service fees not shown until checkout
    • TickPick  First-displayed price is actual price including fees, with option to “bid” or name-your-price.
    • SeatGeek – Fees built into display price.
  • (3) Avoid Craigslist or other non-certified resellers! I’ve heard tons of stories over the years of folks who got scammed or had to go through considerable hassle to obtain tickets. Not worth the risk. Also know that NYC law prohibits reselling “scalping” 1500 feet away from the venue (which is effectively everywhere off the subway at the US Open), and they have undercover police on site cracking down on both sellers and buyers.
  • (4) If you end up with tickets you don’t need, you can very easily post your tickets for resale through the US Open Ticket Exchange.
  • (5) If you’re going with a friend(s), consider buying a combination of cheap and amazing seats: this way, you can split the cost and trade off time in the great seat. E.g., you could trade time in seats in Promenade vs Courtside, or between stadiums (in Ashe vs a reserved seat in  Armstrong or Grandstand). I do this every year with my best friends.

IMPORTANT: Most online resale tickets in 2018 (including through Ticketmaster) are being offered as MOBILE tickets (i.e., “Your Phone is Your Ticket”) – which requires having a smart phone with internet/wifi capability.

  • If you do not have a smart phone (either iPhone or Android) and you purchase through Ticketmaster, they WILL help you – but you’ll have to contact their customer service directly and have them make an exception and transfer your tickets to “Will Call” pick up location on site. If you don’t own a smart phone and are purchasing resale tickets during the tournament, I’d recommend buying exclusively through Ticketmaster and not taking chances with other resellers.
  • Questions? See 2018 detailed instructions (with screenshots) on how to access and manage your mobile tickets.


KEY SEATING CHARTS

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Arthur Ashe Seating Chart (view from above)
Official Ashe Stadium Seating Chart
My annotated Ashe Stadium SHADE map
Interactive Seat Viewer” to give you a sense of what view is like from specific seats – which from my experience tends to make seats look like they’re closer than they actually feel when you’re there, but helpful nonetheless.

NEW Louis Armstrong Stadium
New Louis Armstrong Stadium Seating Chart (Official)
New Louis Armstrong Chart (with my annotations)
Armstrong Interactive “View from Seat” Map
My annotated Armstrong Stadium SHADE map

Grandstand
Grandstand Stadium Seating Chart
Grandstand Interactive Seat Map


Tip #6

If you’ve never done it, consider splurging once on a courtside Ashe seat — if possible after the 2nd round of play when matches start getting more competitive. After dreaming for years of the possibility, I finally bit the bullet to invest in courtside seats in 2011 for the first time. It was bliss. Now it’s an annual tradition for me and a few close friends to experience courtside together at least once. What most people don’t understand about the mammoth Ashe stadium until they’ve been in person is that even Loge seating is fairly high up because (a) the stadium is very vertically oriented (seating is on a sharp incline) and (b) there are two levels of suites above Courtside before the first row of Loge even begins. So when you’re down in Courtside, you feel like you’re in another world. The feeling of being that close to greatness in Ashe’s electric atmosphere is pretty amazing. If going for a courtside seat, keep in mind that Row E is first row in sections 1-6, 31-40, 65-67; and Row F is first row in sections 7,9,11, 26, 29, 30, 60 63, 64, 41, 42. If courtside is out of your budget, aim for lower Loge rows A-C (or D in sections where D is first row, including 111, 122, 143, 154, 175, 186, 207, and 218), which are very good seats.

Here’s a video I shot of Federer from the front row in 2011, the very first time I sat courtside at Ashe. I found a great deal on a resale ticket (baseline section 58) for Labor Day during the Round of 16 and got to witness Federer perfection from a few feet away. Best money I’ve ever spent.



BOX 3: F.A.Q.s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are the questions I get most often, along with important stuff I wish I had known myself before buying tickets the first time…


FAQ #1: How can I predict which day/time Roger Federer (or any other favorite player) will play? 

There’s no way to predict with certainty exactly where or when your favorite player will play until the Daily Schedule of Play is published the afternoon before the match.

However, based on the Day 1 and 2 schedule (view the Day 1 and Day 2 schedules here), we now know the following: 

Men’s and Women’s top half of the Draw will play first on Monday Day 1 (then every other day thereafter through quarterfinalson odd-numbered session days); Bottom halves of the draws will play on Tuesday (then every other day thereafter, on even-numbered session days through quarterfinals).

TOP HALF OF DRAWS: Day 1 (Mon)/ Day 3 (Wed) / Day 5 (Fri) / Day 7 (Sun)/ Day 9 (Tues)

  • Men’s top half of draw: Includes Nadal, Del Potro, Thiem, Anderson, [Dimitrov -eliminated]
  • Women’s top half of draw: Includes Serena & Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens, Azarenka [Halep- -eliminated]

BOTTOM HALF OF DRAWS: Day 2 (Tues)/ Day 4 (Thurs) / Day 6 (Sat) / Day 8 (Mon)/ Day 10 (Wed) 

  • Men’s bottom half: Includes Federer, Djokovic, Sascha Zverev, Cilic
  • Women bottom half: Includes Madison Keys, Kerber, Kvitova, Wozniacki

Please note: It’s impossible to predict in advance who will be scheduled for Day or Night sessions. I cannot stress this enough. Officials tend to alternate scheduling superstars between Day and Night sessions on Ashe; for instance, if your favorite player is playing a night session on Ashe Day 1, good chance they will be scheduled for the day session on Ashe on Day 3, and if they win probably night session Day 5, and so on. For Quarterfinals in particular, organizers have a pattern of putting the matches they believe will be most attractive to fans at night. However, there is never 100% certainty- it’s all up to the subjective decisionmaking of the tournament director and every year there are surprises. 

We also can never fully predict which court players will play on Ashe versus other courts (until Quarterfinals, at which time all remaining singles matches are on Ashe). The top superstars (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Serena Williams in particular) will almost always be scheduled on Ashe — however, there could be some suprises in 2018 in this regard given the unveiling of the flashy new 14,000-seat Armstrong stadium. The tournament director was recently quoted in the NY Times as saying: “With two roofs we now have the ability to rotate every top player through both [Ashe and Armstrong] stadiums.”

If you want to be absolutely sure you see your favorite player, you might consider waiting until the Daily Schedule of Play is published the day prior (start checking at 2:30pm, usually out by 5:00pm), then immediately go to Ticketmaster or Ticketmaster Exchange (or other resale sites like Stubhub) to grab a resale ticket. This strategy requires, however, that you monitor the ticket situation closely in the days prior and are prepared to act immediately when the schedule is announced. Also, if you see tickets becoming scarce and prices going up in the days prior, you may conclude it’s worth taking a chance and purchasing based on an educated guess.

To get a general sense of scheduling trends, look at the previous year’s schedule  – here is the 2017 Daily Schedule of Play.

** One sure way to see your favorite player up close is to watch them when they’re scheduled for practice on the practice courts. See Tip #9


FYI: A fun way to get your head around the 2018 draw/brackets — and potential match-ups — is to play Tennis Channel’s Racquet Bracket challenge. It’s also a great way to become more familiar with some players you may not have heard of yet but probably will soon.  


Roger Federer from Courtside (section 60 row F) 9/4/17


FAQ #2: How do a see the exact location of seats that I might buy (in Ashe, Armstrong, or Grandstand)?

Go to Ticketmaster and click on any session for the stadium in question. Choose Map View, then mouse over any of the dots to get the section, row and seat #. Blue dots = regularly priced seats (but careful as blue sometimes also is used for very expensive” premium seating packages”), red dots = fan-to-fan resale seats. Note that for Courtside seats, each lettered “row” in Ashe (e.g. “A” or “H”) actually stands for two rows: e.g., “Row A Seat 5” might actually be in the second row, Row C Seat 6 is probably 6th row). Courtside Sections 48-49, 52-63 and 66-67 go actually have two rows of “AA” seats followed by rows A-H. Also note where the umpire sits (you’ll see a little chair icon on each map — and avoid courtside tickets very close up in sections right behind or next to the chair (please note: the umpire chair is never a big obstruction, but it might be a minor annoyance to some). To make matters more complicated… first row for Behind-the-Server seats Courtside begin with E or F: Row E is first row in sections 1-6, 31-40, 65-67; and Row F is first row in sections 7,9,11, 26, 29, 30, 60 63, 64, 41, 42. Here also are links to “big-picture” charts:


FAQ #3: When should I buy? Will sessions sell out if I wait too long? Will prices go down or up over the summer? What are average prices? 

The frustrating reality is: “it depends.” Buying tickets for the US Open can be like investing in the stock market: knowledge and judgment dramatically raises the odds of a good decision, but there are always surprises due to the number of variables involved. Standard (non-resale) Ashe tickets usually sell out fairly quickly (except for Ashe stadium’s “Promenade” section, where there are usually quite a few available throughout the summer). However, there are almost always resale tickets available until the very last moment because thousands of fans post their tickets for resale. You can almost always get tickets closer to the tournament – and you may end up finding a phenomenal deal if you are patient. However, waiting longer to purchase requires you to have a higher risk tolerance than those who’d prefer the certainty around making arrangements sooner.

Resale ticket prices can vary significantly, especially closer to the tournament. Prices can plummet when lineups are predicted to be lackluster… or they can skyrocket if fans speculate that certain marquee players (like Federer) will be scheduled. In 2017, after it became clear  that both Federer and Nadal would be scheduled on the same days throughout the tournament, prices spiked sharply for the days they’d be scheduled if they advanced and dropped significantly for the opposite days. Then, after Federer got knocked out in quarters, prices for semis and finals declined quite a bit.

The best advice I can give is to familiarize yourself with average prices on Ticketmaster for the days/sessions you are considering over the course of several days so you can recognize a good deal when you see one and spot the trends.

Here is a chart showing the price ranges for regularly priced tickets in 2018.  If you find resale tickets around these prices or less, that’s one sign of a great deal.


FAQ #4: Which seats get the most shade?

For Ashe: The roof creates a massive amount of natural shading all day for a large number of seats. The sections that get the most shade are in the South and West sections of the stadium; Next-best for shade are in the North. Sections with the most sun (to avoid for Day sessions) are on the East side. Click on the photo/map below for details.

For the new Armstrong: Situation is similar to Ashe, now that there’s a roof. In short, Sections 1-8 are best for shade.  West-side sections (Chair Umpire side) get the most shade; and when not in shade, at least the sun is at your back. Rows K and above (approximately) are shaded soonest (by about 12:30pm), then the sun gradually moves down to cover all rows by about 2:00 pm. East-side sections get the least shade and are in direct sun most of the afternoon. However, Rows T and above (approximately) get shading all day. South sections (behind-the-server) get more shade than North sections: South sections start out almost entirely shaded until about 1pm, then the sun starts wrapping around clockwise, such that sections 17-18 end up losing shade mid-afternoon. See photo/map below.

For Grandstand: There’s much less shade overall, however South and West sections are similarly better because sun is more at your back. General admission seats that are higher under the overhang, especially Southwest corner, get the most shade.

Click to enlarge my Ashe shade map

Click to enlarge my Ashe shade map

Click to Enlarge my Armstrong Shade Map (photo from 2:30pm)


FAQ #5: What happens if it rains?

The good news: Now that both Arthur Ashe and the new Louis Armstrong stadiums have roofs, now up to 37,771 more fans each day will be able to see matches even if it rains. The bad news: if you invest in great seats for Grandstand or simply buy a Grounds Admission pass, there isn’t much consolation. Keep in mind that weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable and can change on the hour (I have literally been at Flushing Meadows when my iPhone said it was raining and it wasn’t). There’s always hope that showers will pass quickly. In the highly unlikely event of all-day rain out or under 60 minutes of play (which happene9e222ef6f78e072473d0fc4b667c9cbed to me unforgettably in 2012 on the day I treated 6 friends to pricy Armstrong front row seats), the session may be rescheduled until the next day and your ticket may be honored then — or, you MAY be able to trade in tickets through the US Open for another session this year or next year if (and only if) you purchased directly from Ticketmaster (see the somewhat complicated 2016 US Open Inclement Weather Policy). In the worst case scenario, I recommend looking for the silver lining: you’ll be surrounded by a ton of other fans with whom you can grab a US Open specialty cocktail, huddle under a shelter, and watch an Ashe match together on a big screen.


FAQ #6: Should I buy a subscription ticket plan?

For most serious fans, I don’t recommend it. First-time subscribers can only buy “Promenade” seats in Ashe — so high up in that huge stadium you’ll end up watching a lot of the match on the Jumbotron or through binoculars. It could take years to get the chance to upgrade your seats to Loge. For the full series ticket plan price ($2,228 per ticket in 2016) you could buy several amazing seats for multiple sessions over the tournament (or 2 excellent seats for the Men’s final). Finally, there is always a glut of Promenade seats on the resale market, so if you buy an entire series of Promenade seats you may have a challenge reselling any you don’t need.


FAQ #7: Which are the best sections/seats with the best views?

From Section 11 front row in Grandstand

The vast majority of people would consider “behind the server” seats (i.e., those on North or South ends of the courts) to be preferable — and prices generally reflect this. For first-timers, this area would be my top recommendation.

  • This is the vantage point they use for filming for broadcast, because it enables you to follow point construction and see the court from the perspective of the player on your side of the net.
  • From these seats, you’ll never have to move your head side-to-side to follow the ball.
  • FYI: seats in these sections start several feet higher in these seats than sections on the side (this is why these rows begin with higher letters E instead of AA or A).
  • Here’s a photo of the perspective from higher up seats in the new Armstrong. Here’s another photo from Ashe courtside front row.

Corner sections are also widely considered to be highly desirable — and for good reason. They carry many of the same advantages of the above, with the added benefit you can see the player on your side of the net from the front as their hitting the ball not just the back. Here’s a photo from the new Armstrong from that perspective.

Photo from lower row of section 6 in new Armstrong

As a serious player myself, I personally love sitting courtside as close as possible in lower rows of sections where seats are practically on the court, perpendicular and near to the actual baseline (e.g., section 58 in Ashe) because it gets me physically even closer to the players and more on the same level. Sitting in the lower rows, I feel even more like I’m on the court with them. I feel the speed of the game. In these seats, I personally enjoy watching one player at a time sometimes to see their footwork, how they prepare for the next ball, etc. I took the video of Federer I included in my post from this perspective (from section 58). Here’s a photo from Ashe courtside from that perspective.

If considering Loge or Promenade seats in Ashe, I generally recommend prioritizing seats that are in lower rows regardless of location— simply because Loge (and especially Promenade) are already quite high up to begin with.

For Day sessions, I urge folks to factor in potential shade benefits (seats on West side, SouthWest, and Northwest tend to get the most shade relief). See FAQ #4 above.

With regard to the umpire chair, it really is never an obstruction but may feel a bit of an annoyance to some if you’re sitting in very low rows on that side — simply because you may not always have a complete view of the player on the other side of the net. See this photo for example. I personally don’t mind this for reasons I mention above, and this is ONLY an issue when courtside in very low rows.

Tip #7

The night before you go, check the app or click this link for the detailed daily Schedule of Play for the following day’s schedule and make your game plan so you can beeline directly to the court where the match you care about will happen (including, potentially, the practice courts– see Tip #8 below). You should also download the official US Open Everywhere App (search on app stores for “2018 US Open Tennis” closer to the event) to track the latest schedule, scores and live updates. If someone you really want to see will play on Grandstand or Armstrong, get to the grounds as early as you can so you can be among the first in line when the gates open at 9:30am then speed-walk to those stadiums and grab the best seat you can. Here’s a great NYT article on 2018 “Players to Watch.” And see this SI.com terrific preview of some exciting 2018 first-round match-ups.

Rafa on practice courts at 2017 US Open

Tip #8

Check out the practice courts for close sightings of the superstars including Roger Federer, Rafael Nada, Novak Djokovic, and Serena Williams. Check the practice schedule the night before (and morning of) to see when/where players are practicing (you can also see it on the official US Open App).

Note: the best time to see top players practice without fighting crowds is during the free Qualifier Tournament and week before the main tournament (see my Tip #10 below).

Tip #9

Do not drive unless you really have toInstead, take the #7 train (see 7 train schedule here, runs 24 hours, PM times in bold)– or, better yet, take the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) from Penn Station to the “Mets-Willets Point” station (direction “Port Washington”) for the fastest trip (about 15 min from Penn Station!). For the LIRR, best to use Penn Station’s 7th Avenue entrance at West 32nd or 34th street; look for the “Port Washington” train on the board to find the right track.

  • To purchase LIRR tickets, I recommend downloading the very easy-to-use MTA eTix app. Within the app, just create an account (takes literally seconds), click “Buy Tickets” select Penn Station first then “Mets-Willets Point”, purchase either one-way or R/T or several (peak or off-peak), and ticket(s) will then be in your “wallet” in the app for you to use whenever you like; you just have to press “activate” right before you board your train of coice.
  • If you must drive: see the US Open’s driving directions and details on parking lots. (Public parking costs around $25).
    • GPS address to the general area is “122-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11368.” GPS to Citi Field is 123-01 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11368.
    • US Open recommends using “Grand Central Parkway exit 9E or Whitestone Expressway (678) Exit 13D.”
    • The entrance to parking (about $25 for public parking) is located at 126th Street and Shea Road, Corona, NY.  GPS address to that intersection is “126 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing, NY 11368
    • You’ll see signs and be directed to available public parking. Citi Field will be the primary lot in 2018 (“Yellow Zone” parking) because the Mets aren’t playing any home games during the US Open except Fri-Sun of finals weekend (Mets home schedule).
    • Consider buying a parking pass on a resale site to lots A, B, C, F or H (they have shuttles). Here’s the detailed transportation map showing parking lots.
    • Fellow fan Harry pointed out: “If you are willing to walk a bit, street parking underneath or south of Highway 495 is a viable option.”
  • Uber/Lyft/Taxi TO the Open:
    • I’d recommend putting in “Mets-Willets Point” as the destination (not Billie Jean King National Tennis Center) – this will take you directly to the spot on Roosevelt Avenue where the 7 train lets people off, then you can just walk up the stars and across the foot bridge to the East Gate.
  • If considering a taxi or Uber/Lyft home after a night session, be prepared for a long wait, hassles, and a very (very) expensive ride with surge pricing. Getting an Uber/Lyft after an evening session when literally thousands of others are trying to do the same can be a nightmare. I tried it in 2016 as an experiment and here’s what happened: (1) Had to go to designated “zone 3” pickup area for cabs and users– a long walk from the South Gate near the globe (trying to meet them by the 7 train at Roosevelt is really tough given heavy traffic); (2) three Uber drivers cancelled on me after accepting before I finally get one; (3) Surge pricing was in effect, with a ride that should have cost $45 being quoted over $120. If you need to hire a car back home after a night session, consider the following instead:
    • (1) Take the LIRR or 7 Train into NYC (see above)
    • (2) Arrange a car service pickup in advance. I’ve used Riverside and they’re always reliable (and they have an app as well) – but you can find many other car services in NY if you Google.
    • (2) Trying to hail a cab on the street just under the 7 train  (Roosevelt Ave); or download the “Curb” app for NYC taxis and hail one that way from that location.
    • (3) Taking the 7 train to another local stop THEN calling Uber or a cab.
  • If you fly into Laguardia (LGA) you can take the NYC Q48” public bus from Laguardia to the US Openonly about 5 minutes away (the stop is listed on the MTA website as “ROOSEVELT AV/WILLETS PT BL STATION.”

What to Bring and What NOT to bring (Backpacks not allowed!)

Be sure to review this list of prohibited items before going!

To help clarify some common confusions:

  • You CAN bring a drawstring bag (click here for example) but NOT a backpack with two straps
  • You CAN bring a digital camera with video capabilities (however they do NOT allow “Video cameras or recording devices”, which includes GoPros)
  • You CAN bring food in limited quantities or for medical reasons (but don’t try to bring in a feast or be prepared for an argument)
  • You CAN bring a clear plastic water bottle to refill on site (but NOT anything glass or metal)
  • You CAN bring a fanny pack: but if you do you’ll still need to go through the “with bag” security line
  • You CAN bring sunscreen in lotion form only, NOT aerosol cans

Be prepared to wait in a potentially long security line if you have any bag at all (i.e. an enclosed object that doesn’t fit in your clothes), whereas you can breeze through a separate express line for those without bags.

There is storage outside both East and South Gate entrances if you need it: $5 for small items, $10 for large items (even suitcases OK).

Before Leaving, Don’t Forget…
  • Download your mobile tickets from to your mobile wallet (e.g. Apple Wallet or something like WalletPasses on Android)
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen (lotion not spray)!
  • A backup phone charger (e.g. a Mophie) if you have one
  • If taking subway (7 train), fill up your subway Metrocard in advance for your return trip in advance if taking 7 train so you don’t have to wait in long lines; If taking LIRR (my favorite) you need to get your ticket before boarding
  • small umbrella if rain may be in the forecast
  • Dress in layers as it can get hot during the day and occasionally chilly at night
  • Contacts wearers: A very small bottle of contact lens solution in case you get something in your eye
  • FYI: There are two entrances to the grounds: (1) the main entrance, the “East Gate,” located near the Subway/LIRR; and (2) the “South Gate” entrance near the iconic World’s Fair “Unisphere” (globe) – see map above. While lines tend to be shorter by the South Gate, the wait may end up being about the same because there are fewer attendants and metal detectors.
Tip #10
Take advantage of three amazing FREE opportunities to see incredible players up close:
  • AUG 21-24 FREE “Fan Week: If you’re a real die-hard fan, consider going to the FREE qualifying tournament Tues August 21- Friday August 24, the week before the main tournament begins. 128 male and female players will compete for the final 32 spots (16 each for men and women) in the singles draws. This is also a great time to see seeded players on practice courts. Read why Fan Week/Qualies are so special in this great piece by Steven Kutz.
    • Gates open at/around 9:30am, matches start at 9:30am. Last year many more people showed up than in any previous year, and there’s usually quite a line formed already by 9am. However you can arrive anytime during the day and still get in, no problem. Matches are held on outer courts only (not Ashe).  Many matches stretch into evenings. During this tournament, you will see several top players practicing on Armstrong and on the practice bank courts.
    • To understand how players qualify to play in the US Open and why qualifiers matter, see this explanation by Laurence Shanet
    • Watch top seeds practicing all week, including Federer who they’ve announced will practice on Grandstand Wed August 22 at 10:00am. See the practice schedule here (also available on the app).
    • Check out other special fan activities in Manhattan (not at the US Open grounds) on Wed/Thurs Sep 22-23 as part of the “US Open Experience at Brookfield Place – Waterfront Plaza, 230 Vesey St, New York, NY 10281
  • SAT AUG 25: Bring your kids (or treat someone else’s!) to the free Arthur Ashe Kid’s Day. There’s a stadium show at 1pm and premium seats are available on Ticketmaster.
  • SUN AUG 26: Go see top players practicing up close by taking advantage of free access to the US Open grounds the day before the main tournament begins to watch practice sessions – it’s one of the best-kept secrets that the grounds are open to the public all day.
Box 4: FREE ADMISSION THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 6 FOR DOUBLES SEMIS & MORE!

Men’s & Women’s Doubles Semifinals Plus the World’s Top Wheelchair, Junior, and Collegiate Players – Gates open at 11am

One of the best-kept secrets is that you can enter the US Open grounds for free on the second Thursday (gates open at noon, must arrive before 5pm) and see the Doubles Semifinals plus all-star wheelchair players, the world’s top juniors, and incredible collegiate players. If you are a serious tennis fan, particularly if you’re a doubles player, this is a day not to be missed.

In 2017, for the first time, officials are put top wheelchair players on Arthur Ashe stadium and you could sit courtside for free.

I went and it was a thrill to sit courtside at Ashe and to cheer on the incredible wheelchair athletes.

Among the world-class wheelchair players to watch for:

  • 2679-12017 Wimbledon Wheelchair Doubles Champions Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid, pictured above after their Wimbledon win.
  • Men’s s player Shingo Kunieda, who had a three-year, 106-match consecutive win streak (2007-2010), then another big winning streak of 77 matches in 2014-2015. Women’s singles player Yui Kamiji, who has only lost 2 matches since Jan 18, 2017 and American women’s wildcard player Dana Mathewson.
  • The world’s #1 in the “Quad” (quadriplegic) division (ranked #1 in singles and doubles), American David Wagner. Born in 1974, David became paralyzed from the mid-chest down at age 21 when he was playing frisbee on the beach and a wave tossed him head-first into the sand. With only thirty percent function in his hands, David plays by taping the tennis racket to his hand. And by all accounts he’s a super cool guy besides being an extraordinary athlete (picture right).
A FEW MORE RECS
  • Scan this outstanding list of “59 Insider Tips for Attending the U.S. Open by the brilliant Sports Illustrated writer Jon Wertheim. Note: if you haven’t yet seen Wertheim’s 2018 Strokes of Genius documentary on the Federer/Nadal rivalry, RENT IT! It’s one of the best documentaries on anything I’ve ever seen, beautifully capturing so many of the unique aspects of tennis that make us so passionate about our sport.
  • Bring a backup phone charger if you have one. There are some re-charging stations, but after all the photos and video you take with your phone and use of Wi-Fi your phone will run out of juice quickly.
  • Need an affordable hotel room? Fellow tennis fanatic Melissa maintains a great list of hotels appealing to all budgets, starting at $25 per night. These accommodations are open to public, but some aren’t listed on generic hotel travel websites or they may be listed as ‘specialty lodging.’ While you may have to compromise to stay in one of these hotels, like a shared bathroom, or no television, you cannot beat the prices for these locations.
  • Got an Amex card? Bring it. As reader Jason wrote last year in Q&As: “Cool experiences and a large chill area/tent. Along with an earpiece radio to follow other matches.” If you spend more than $100 on merchandise they will credit you back $20. See Amex Benefits at US Open here.
  • Sign up for the “Fan Pass” on the app to be entered into a sweepstakes and track your activity on site. Scan your personal barcode at various stations around the event to collect “badges,” which can redeem for prizes. 15 badges gets a $100 US Open Gift Card; 20 badges gets 2 tickets to 2018 Men’s Semis.
  • Do your shopping for US Open gear early in the tournament – stores run out of the popular sizes fast.
  • $25 General Admission tickets will be available for purchase on Friday for  Friday-Sunday of finals weekend on Ticketmaster so fans can walk the grounds, see juniors and wheelchair finals, and watch Ashe matches on the big screens.
FINAL THOUGHT: “PAY IT FORWARD” WHEN YOU CAN!

If you have an opportunity, consider performing a random act of kindness for fellow fans during the tournament. Our tennis community is big, but relatively speaking, it’s small… Our passion for our sport is infectious; do something kind for someone today, they’re likely to pay it forward. Last year, a reader emailed me saying he had an emergency and couldn’t go to the tournament but had amazing New Grandstand seats – he asked if I knew anyone that would really value them for free so they didn’t go to waste. I was able to share with a fanatic who’s in town on a budget, who as you can imagine was elated. In past years, I’ve gifted a lot of tickets myself – and it always feels wonderful. It takes seconds to “transfer” tickets from Ticketmaster/Ticketmaster Exchange to others simply by putting in an email address.

On site, you can also make someone’s day (or year!) by surprising a stranger with your amazing reserved seats in Ashe, Armstrong, or Grandstand if you have to leave early. Especially if you have Ashe Courtside seats and need to leave early — there will always be die-hard fans waiting just outside the exit from the Courtside level hoping someone might pass along their ticket when done! Just pass them the printed receipt you get after getting your mobile ticket scanned (or, if you were already on site with Day tickets and you have a night session tickets that haven’t been scanned, you can simply ask someone at the East Gate or at Ashe entrance to scan and give you a printed receipt).

 

BOX 5:  OUTLINE OF KEY QUESTIONS/LINKS

This post has gotten long over the years to include many more details–so below is an outline with shortcuts to help you find what you need more quickly:

TICKET OPTIONS EXPLAINED 

Ticket Options Explained (Box 1) (What time can I enter grounds? What do I get for each type of ticket? Etc).

WHERE/WHEN TO GET TICKETS?

My advice for getting best deals on tickets (Box 2).

RELIABLE TICKET SITES

DAILY SCHEDULE OF PLAY/ PRACTICE SCHEDULE

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S BRACKETS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

TRANSPORTATION

WHAT YOU CAN/CANNOT BRING WITH YOU

HOTELS

US OPEN POLICIES, RULES, AND OFFICIAL GUIDE

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Got a Question or Comment?

I’d love to hear from you! I do my best to answer questions and welcome additional advice from fellow tennis fanatics in the comments section below.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a delay (up to several hours) after you submit a comment below before you see it appear with my replyThis is so I can stay on top of which comments I owe replies to. 

I try to post comments and reply quickly, but may be a little slow as I’m a bit overextended with two demanding  jobs — and also trying to get out to enjoy the Open myself a few times this year… 🙂  Thanks for understanding, P.J.

 Here are shortcut links to FAQs I get most often:

  • How can I be sure to see Federer (or Rafa, Nole, Zverev, Serena, Sloane, etc)? See FAQ #1
  • Can I predict who will play on a specific day or night? See FAQ #1
  • Please explain the ticket options – I’m confused! What does each ticket entitle me to? Day vs. Night sessions? Reserved vs. Grounds tickets? Ashe vs. Armstrong or Grandstand? What time can I enter? Can I enter and re-enter? See Box #1 
  • Where to get the best deals on tickets? See Box #2  
  • Should I buy now or wait? Will prices go up or down? See FAQ #3
  • Which seats have the best view? See FAQ #7
  • Can I bring…
    • An SLR camera with video capability? YES
    • A plastic water bottle? YES, just not metal or glass
    • A backpack? NO, but you can bring a drawstring bag
    • Food? YES, in “limited quantities” (they don’t define limited). “No sealed packages of any kind”
    • Please read official list of prohibited items here
EXPLAINING COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT ENTRY AND RE-ENTRY
  • Once you enter the Grounds of the US Open through the East or South Gate, you can stay as long as you want and access non-reserved seating in any stadium (except Ashe, the only stadium where every seat is reserved and requires a ticket). This means if you enter with a Day session ticket, you CAN stay on grounds all night and access unreserved seating in any all stadiums (except Ashe), including Armstrong for night matches on first-come basis.
  • If you have a day and evening ticket the same day, you will NOT need to exit the US Open grounds and re-enter again
  • If you have both Day and Evening session for Ashe on the same day, you will need to exit and reenter Ashe Stadium (they clear the entire stadium between Day and Evening sessions)
  • If you were in Armstrong for the Day session (either Courtside reserved or GA seating), you will need to leave your seat between Day and Evening sessions (as they clean up). However, you may stay inside the concourse area of Armstrong (the inner-stadium areas with food stands). As such, if you were in the stadium for Day and want to line up for GA seating for Evening session, you have an advantage: you can stick around and wait in line upstairs until ushers start letting people back to seatsIf you leave the stadium during this “in between” period, you won’t be allowed to re-enter for a brief  time (They don’t allow anyone new to come in for a period while they’re cleaning up).