Grand Slam Plan Progress Update: 100% Complete

The fan slam is now complete! Here’s the US Open progress report.

Grand Slam Plan Summary

  • Grand Slam Tournaments attended to date in 2012: 4 (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open)
  • Sessions of tennis attended live in August / September 2012 : 15 (3 US Open Day Sessions and 11 Night Sessions, plus one day of qualifying)
  • Number of hours on the subway in transit to and from the US Open: Approximately 32 (1 and a third days)
  • Number of litres of sweat lost while in transit to, and at, the US Open: Countless. It’s hot in NYC in Summer!
  • Highlights
    • Meeting Pat Rafter and Todd Woodbridge who were watching Matt Ebden play on Day 1
    • Watching the matches of Venus Williams v Angelique Kerber, Marion Bartoli v Petra Kvitova, plus the the Women’s Final and seeing Andy Murray win his first grand slam.
    • Completing the fan slam
  • New skills learned
  • Items of Merchandise purchased: 5 (1 x Towel, 3 x T Shirts, 1 x Reusable Bag )
  • Items of Merchandise received for free: 4 x caps, 4 x radios
  • Odd things observed in New York: People taking dogs in taxis, parrots on the subway and walking invisible pets

US Open key learnings

  • It can be really hot and humid at the US Open during the day, and there aren’t too many shady courtside seats. If you go to a Day Session, be prepared for a long, hot day. There are plenty of shady areas in the food court and bars where you can take a break.  Also be prepared for rain, which frequently delays play.
  • It’s easy to get tickets for Arthur Ashe (AA) stadium, and they aren’t that much more expensive than a ground pass in the early rounds. The matches scheduled for AA aren’t always the most exciting though. Like a ground pass, an AA Day session ticket lets you in to the grounds, including some seats on Louis Armstrong stadium and Grandstand stadium plus you have a seat in AA if you want to use it. Court 17 also has a lot of seats for ground pass holders.
  • Because all courts have lights, play goes late into the evening during the first week or so. It’s cooler then and the atmosphere is more relaxed than during the day.
  • Night session play starts at 7pm, or 40 minutes after the Day session ends. If the Day session runs close to or past 7pm, due to the crowd try to avoid being near the stadium when the Day Session people leave and the Night Session ticket holders are waiting to get in. Instead go to the Food Court or have a look around other parts of the grounds.
  • Night session ticket holders are allowed in to the grounds from 6pm. If you arrive before 6pm, the line to get your bag searched by security can be quite long as there aren’t many bag searchers for the number of people. Consider not taking a bag, or arriving around 6.30pm.
  • Don’t bring a back pack with you. If you do, you’ll have to leave the entry line, walk back to to the Bag Check line, line up again, check your back pack for $5 and then return to the entry line. In otherwise, it can take a while.  Find out more about what you can, and can’t bring in US Open Essentials.
  • The US Open is covered by several different cable channels in the US and it can be hard to figure out. If you’re booking accommodation and want to watch tennis while you’re not there, check if they have the right channels available. View the TV Schedule.
  • The quality of the live stream from the US Open website was excellent.
  • You need a lot of zoom to take good photos from the Promenade in Arthur Ashe stadium. Our lens goes to 250 mm and it wasn’t really enough.

US mobile internet access

  • There is free wifi access all around New York, in Starbucks, cafes, restaurants, museums and other places.
  • There is free wifi provided by the US Open which was intermittent ie some times I couldn’t get access, sometimes I got access but it didn’t work and sometimes it worked. Generally though it very rarely worked in the Promenade level of Arthur Ashe stadium and when it did work it wasn’t strong enough for sharing photos.
  • I bought a $50 SIM card from T-Mobile which provided unlimited calls and texts for 30 days, plus unlimited data. The data speed on a iPhone is 2G, sometimes it was OK and sometimes it was too slow to use. it was handy to have a US number though for texting people.

New York key learnings

  • New York is hot is Summer! (did I say that already?) Although it wasn’t as hot as it had been in previous weeks. Expect to sweat a lot and have humidity hair (bigger and fuzzier with each passing day)
  • The Yelp iPhone app was invaluable for finding places to eat and drink in the local area. If you have a dietary restriction, for example being gluten free, you can find suitable eating places nearby. New York has an endless list of great places to eat and drink, particularly in the East Village near where we stayed. In a way there are too many options, which makes it hard to choose a place. And looks can be deceiving. We went to some awesome restaurants based on Yelp recommendations that I probably wouldn’t have gone to based on how they looked.
  • Restaurants and bars also stay open and serve food until late, which is great when you’re getting back from the tennis at midnight or later and want to have a meal.
  • There are a lot of things to do in New York and many of them are free, or low cost. My favourite free things were:

Big thanks to:

  • @Ballboy2012 and @40shadesofDeuce for joining me for the New York leg of the fan slam and making it fabulous. Also for their great camera work for a lot of the pictures that were included with the New York articles.
  • My friend Judy in Melbourne for invaluable advice about where to stay and what to do in New York.
  • The friends from Twitter that I met in person, especially @flushingfan who provided fantastic information in the planning stages and excellent tips for enjoying New York.
  • Everyone who followed, tweeted, retweeted, liked on Facebook and Instagram and read this blog and shared your comments..

Well, that’s game, set and match for the fan slam. What a year it was!

Please stick around as I’ll continue updating this blog with tennis related info, especially when the 2013 Australian Open rolls around in 4 months or so.

Until next time

Grand Slam Gal

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