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How to Buy the Best Tickets for the U.S. Open

You can have an incredible experience seeing world-class tennis for surprisingly reasonable ticket prices, but you better hurry.

The U.S. Open rolls into Flushing Meadow in New York City this Monday to crown its new champion on Sunday, September 10. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to attend a tennis tournament, the U.S. Open is the perfect opportunity to indulge in that curiosity. There is no doubt you’ll have the experience of a lifetime.

Many sports fans hear about the thousands of dollars it takes to buy tickets to the men’s or women’s finals, so they shy away from the tournament altogether. It’s their loss because you can see fantastic tennis for short money, especially compared to the high cost of tickets to NFL, NBA, or even MLB games.

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 If you’ve ever seen Wimbledon on TV, you have the sense that tennis audiences are polite, sedate, and only quietly encourage the players to do their best. That’s not how it is in New York, however. New York fans are loud, boisterous, looking for a good time, knowledgeable, and passionate about their sport. The U.S. Open is a nonstop two-week party, especially if you know the ins and outs of getting tickets.

Most sporting events are pretty simple. You visit the website or a ticket reseller like Ticketmaster or Gametime.co. You figure out where you want to sit, buy the tickets, and you’re done. The U.S. Open, by contrast, has different options to fit different budgets and desires. So, while it takes a moment to master the intricacies of getting the right ticket, you can shop confidently once you have the basics down.

The U.S. Open is divided into two sessions a day (until the Finals), a day session and an evening session. The big-name players—Djokovic, Coco Gauff—play their matches in the massive Arthur Ashe Stadium. Since it’s an elimination tournament, they only announce which players will be performing in Ashe a day or so before those matches.

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Once it’s announced, for example, that Novak Djokovic will be playing, say, during the Wednesday evening session, ticket prices for that session spike. So, if you have your heart set on seeing Novak, you’ll need to wait until the last minute and then pounce once his match has been scheduled. You can save money if you’re willing to roll the dice and buy tickets before the match has been announced.

 Yet there’s so much more to the U.S. Open than the biggest names in Arthur Ashe. Some of the most exciting matches frequently occur on the smaller courts, from the Grandstand to Louis Armstrong Stadium to the side courts. Sometimes, following the crowd noise is the best way to determine which match to watch at any given time. If there’s a lot of shouting and attention over at court 12, get there because dedicated tennis fans have a way of identifying the hottest matches and flocking to them.

You don’t need to buy a more expensive Ashe ticket to see what’s going on outside Ashe. You can actually get a grounds pass that gives you access to everything but Arthur Ashe. This will allow you to see hours and hours of awesome tennis. If you get bored at one match, just go somewhere else. Follow the crowd. The U.S. Open also announces what time the stars will be practicing, so you can grab a spot alongside one of the practice courts and see one of your favorites warming up.

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Frequently, especially in the first week of the tournament, the action in the side courts is far more exciting than what you might see at Ashe. That’s because the top-seeded players are going up against those who have yet to break out or make big names for themselves. As a result, those matches can be fairly lopsided. On the side courts, you’ll almost certainly see exhilarating matches between players at every level.

So, make your way to Flushing Meadow this Monday and enjoy this unmatched experience. Pro tip: Take the Long Island Railroad or the Number 7 train on the New York subway system. Parking is available, but you’ll waste more than an hour each way as you fight the traffic around the tennis complex. You’ve been warned!

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