Score = Love/Love
Sandie Maxa


Photo of Martina Navratilova's (in blue shorts) mixed doubles match.

I love the US Open. I experienced the tennis extravaganza for the third time and grew even more fond of the event this year. It's a great way to watch a lot of tennis in a venue where you can get close to the action. One caveat: a rainy day would definitely lower the score.

Love that it doesn't feel crowded: On the day we attended the Open in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, an all-time attendance record was set with 58,589 fans streaming through the gates. While this statistic may conjure up images of long lines for bathrooms, hot sweaty bodies crowded onto narrow bleachers and packed subway cars going back to the city, I can tell you that the experience was quite pleasant.

Love the quantity of tennis: With three stadiums, 33 outdoor courts and 22 field courts located within the grounds, the National Tennis Center is the largest public tennis facility in the world. There are plenty of high-quality matches for everyone which spreads out the crowd. In addition you can come and go from court to court as you please (as long as it is between points) skipping from ho-hum games to exciting ones as your mood changes. We even got a peek of some heavy hitters on the practice courts.

Love the blue courts: This year's new blue courts make it easier for fans to follow the yellow balls. Tennis executives say the color change is exclusively a marketing decision and claim the color "provides an attractive visual link" to the U.S. Open Series. Wimbledon has green courts (grass), the French Open has red courts (clay), the Australian Open has green courts (rubber) and so the US hopes to differentiate itself with blue. I'm not sure if we need to brand the US Open courts, but the color did help make it easier to see, especially for night games.

But I don't love: The jumbo tennis balls carried around by kids and adults hoping to get autographs are pricy ($40) and bulky souvenirs. And the food is expensive, but at least you can eat it on an umbrella-topped table with a view of a giant screen tv.

I can't wait for next year.