Score = Love/Love


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.

paul, Sep 14 2005 4:07PM

US Open I look forward to watching every year. Next year I'm going to it with a bunch of friends who always seem to get tickets to the finals.
I agree with you the blue courts are great some much easier to follow the ball. I was shocked when I first saw them but quickly got used to it.

mark, Sep 15 2005 12:53PM

i just read an article about how tennis's popularity has been in decline for some time. it appears the other "country club sport" (as slate calls them) golf has increased in popularity. it's worth a read even though i enjoyed my time at the u.s. open, too.

Edmund, Sep 15 2005 7:45PM

I also love the new look and feel of the It's great how they made it more fan friendly this time by letting the fans keep the balls when it's hit off the court and to the stands. Plus, having the winners of every match sign 3 tennis balls then send them to the crowd.

But what I enjoyed the most is my idol Agassi playing one of his best tennis at his age, being involved in a classic match with Blake - a 5 setter tiebreak that ended at 1:30 am, and having a great run to the final to face #1 Federer.

Now if only I was there.