For the US Open there is a ticket pre-sale for USTA Members (this year it was from 24 April to 1 May). You can also pay a deposit on a multiple ticket package before tickets go on sale to the public.
We bought the Night Session mini plan which feels like incredible value but ask me again when I see how close to the court the seats are!
Tickets are still available, it seems like getting good seats is the harder part.
The rest of this info is provided with thanks to @flushingfan
Like all the slams Week 1 has a ton of matches. The first day usually has an American theme, so at least one featured player is American in both day and night sessions. The Opening day night session has a fly-over, fireworks and usually a musical performance before the match.
Ticket buying options: of course it’s always a crap shoot buying in advance!
There are two main options: grounds pass and buying a ticket to Arthur Ashe. Last year the grounds passes were more expensive than previous years, almost the same price as buying a cheap ticket to Arthur Ashe. If you have a grounds pass you can go anywhere but Arthur Ashe, but how frustrating if there was a great match on AA and you couldn’t get to it!
However in the past couple of years they’ve been putting only 3 matches on Ashe day session–used to be 4 but it kept running long. It’s worth looking carefully at the prices on the days you want to go, there can be a bit of variation depending on where in Ashe you want to sit. A cheaper seat in the upper deck might be the same price as the grounds pass.
Another option is to buy reserved seating in Louis Armstrong stadium–I’ve never done that, the reserved section is small but it’s close to the court. But you can get into the rest of Armstrong with only a grounds pass and often see some very good matches.
Where are the best seats
Arthur Ashe Stadium – Centre Court
Capacity is 23,200 and Centre Court is all reserved seating.
If the crowd is interested the atmosphere is great, esp in the night matches. Just best to go in with low expectations of fan behavior on Ashe!
The seats in the back section are a ways away from the court so you might want to bring:
a) Binoculars and/or telephoto lens;
b) iPod to drown out noisy people behind you
d) Food so you won’t be one of the people constantly banging in and out in search of nachos.
Louis Armstrong Stadium – the No.2 Court
Capacity is 10,200.
There is some reserved seating, the other seats are all available on a first come, first serve basis to ground pass holders.
If you’re not there to get a seat before play begins, it’s a matter of waiting at the gates to get in during the change of ends.
@flushingfreak confirmed that you can climb up the outer staircase to the top of the stadium and then work your way way down. Around 6-7 pm is a good time if a match is still going on as people leave for dinner and you move down to get quite close to the court.
2012 Qualifying runs from Tuesday 21 to Friday 24 August.
All days of qualies are free and there’s no bag check.
Not all the food vendors will be open but a lot of them will be, you certainly won’t have a problem getting a meal.
Qualies is the best time to spot players practicing!
As you come over the boardwalk and approach the main gate, the turnstiles and Will Call booths are all on your right. Instead of going straight to the turnstiles, look left. You will see restrooms with a Parks Dept logo. Walk past those and there are three sets of practice courts, one to the left and two on your right. These courts are in Corona Park rather than the Tennis Center itself. Always good to check them as you never know who you’ll see practicing.
When you go in through the turnstiles they usually give you a list of qualifying round matches. In general it’s worth checking out any court where there are NO matches. I’ve seen Ferrer, Monfils, Petra, Gulbis, Soderling, Tipsarevic and so on practicing during the qualies on the two smaller show courts, Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand. But players could be on any of the smaller courts too. The official practice courts are just beyond Arthur Ashe. There is only one viewing area and it gets crowded when well known players are practicing.
During the main tournament they tend to put the better known on the furthest court so you can’t see them that well! But they do post a practice schedule during the main tourney so you can see if it is worth standing in a crowd for one of your faves!
Arthur Ashe Kids Day
Saturday before the Open starts is Arthur Ashe Kids Day. Tickets are $10 to $20. I haven’t done it (not having a kid!) but some of the players get out on court and goof it up. Could be fun.
The Sunday before the Open the Tennis Center is open and they say you are welcome to come out and watch players practicing, but no scheduled matches and no guarantes who you will see–realistically you will probably be sightseeing.
Although it’s a few years old there are also some great tips in this Unofficial Visitors Guide to the US Open.
I also found this interesting 10 Tips for your Day at the US Open
More tips will follow once I’ve actually been to the US Open. In the meantime thanks again to @flushingfan for this “heads up” info.
If you have any other tips for first time visitors to the US Open, please let us know in the comments below.
Until next time
Grand Slam Gal