‘d be lying if I said our honeymoon to New York earlier this year wasn’t dictated slightly by the proposition of ticking off another major tournament visit.
Like Roland Garros, the U.S. Open offers a very easy route to purchasing tickets – all the more appreciated now that Wimbledon had become such a hassle to gain access to.
Armed with Arthur Ashe tickets no less for the opening day and night sessions (one has to buy separate tickets for each), once in the Big Apple, getting to Flushing Meadows was also a breeze. No early starts, a mere 30-min trip on the subway from Central Park and – once there – little to no queuing.
Surrounded by real tennis fans (unlike at Wimbledon again), we were welcomed into the grounds by a recovering Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the tournament presentation does admittedly lack the polish of Wimbledon and the romance of Paris; it is typically brash but does feature pockets of character and a flavour of the history that has surrounded these infamous grounds.
Amidst the fountains, shops and tofu-outlets was of course the biggest tennis arena in the world. Ashe is an imposing sight, even from the outside. Once in there, you really get the sense of the size of the place – but unlike the O2 it wasn’t perilously steep.
Our roster for the day was not the headline-grabbing household names of the second day, but offered some home-grown talent to get the crowds involved. Muguruza, Venus and Cilic were the crowd-pleasers in the day session.
After that, a short break as the day session ticketers made their way home and the new night session pundits piled in. A short wait and faff as virtual tickets were gathered on smartphones and we were back up to our seats.
Cue the ‘opening ceremony’ which saw Billie Jean King officially ‘introduce’ the tournament before Shania Twain gave a little medley only amplifying the Americana of the day. The obligatory national anthem was the icing on the cake.
Sharapova vs Halep was a grandstand contest befitting the occasion – Masha won in 3 high quality sets.