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Old 06-08-2015, 01:53 AM   #1
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Default Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

I posted this on the "main" forum, but it is getting buried there without any responses so I figured I'd post it here too.

Despite being severely bummed about Novak Djokovic falling short in the French Open final, I've been thinking about tennis in a more positive way for much of the day today because I'm thinking about what tickets I'll buy for the U.S. Open. I attended the U.S. Open for the first time last year on the Thursday of the first week (2nd round play) as part of a long, single day trip from/to Washington, DC, and even though I paid more than I would have liked (I think about $180 for a loge/2nd level baseline seat in Ashe Stadium; at least I got a good seat for my money), I had a great, great time - I saw a Djokovic (the primary reason I bought an Ashe seat rather than a grounds pass), Serena (just part of a set), Ivanovic (who lost), Jo-Willie (first set only), Stosur (who lost; I had to stand behind some people to watch the end of her match), I think Verdasco (who lost), Raonic (his match was the only match I could get into during the last 45 minutes I was there LOL), and a real highlight of Kyrgios and Coric playing separate matches on adjacent courts at the same time (plus I saw Andy Murray and John McEnroe on the practice courts during breaks in the action in the Kyrgios and Coric matches). I'm looking forward to going again this year, but this time I want to go for multiple days, probably over Labor Day (middle) weekend so I can see the 3rd and 4th rounds. (With the Slams, the 3rd and 4th rounds IMO are very good because you start seeing better matches but there are still a lot of matches to watch, particularly in the 3rd round.) I assume some people on here have attended the U.S. Open middle weekend before, so I wanted to ask some questions:

1) Is it worth it to buy a multi-day pass directly from the U.S. Open/USTA, despite the fact the Ashe seats offered are terrible (up in the very high promenade/3rd level), or should I try to buy say individual grounds passes or possibly Armstrong passes for those days (Friday 9/4 through Monday 9/7) instead? I'm looking at buying the "Holiday Plan" pass, which gives buyers access to the Friday night session (3rd round), both Saturday sessions (3rd round), both Sunday sessions (4th round), and both Monday sessions (4th round). The Holiday Plan pass costs about $500 or $600, depending on the Ashe seat location.

2) Tickets for individual U.S. Open sessions go on sale to the general public tomorrow (Monday 6/8). Are some of those tickets also opened up for full tournament and partial plan/multi-day passes, or are only the original allotment of full or partial tournament passes still available for people buying multi-day passes after individual session passes go on sale? I looked yesterday at the Holiday Plan pass seating availability, and it was on the skimpy side, so I'm hoping some additional seats open up when individual session tickets go on sale.

3) Just how crowded and uncomfortable is it during that middle/holiday weekend at the USTA Tennis Complex? I know last year there were some matches I wanted to check out in both Armstrong and Grandstand in the mid-afternoon after the Djokovic match was over and before the Kyrgios and Coric matches started, but the lines were so long for both courts I couldn't get in. (I think Madison Keys was playing in one of the matches; she lost that match.) And that backup occurred on the first Thursday, not the weekend. On the other hand, Ashe was well less than half full for the Djokovic match and portion of S. Williams match I saw. During the middle/holiday weekend, how critical is it for fans to get to the non-Ashe courts well in advance of a match they want to see?

4) If I buy the Holiday Plan pass, I would only get a ticket on Friday 9/4 for the evening session. What time can evening session holders get into the grounds at the U.S. Open? I've read some conflicting information; some sites say 5 PM, while others say 6 PM. If I buy a Holiday Plan pass, I'd like to get into the grounds as early as possible so I can watch some of the matches on the outer courts before heading into Ashe (or depending on the matchups, watching those outer court matches until they are all done before going into Ashe).

Any feedback to my questions above would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

1. I personally prefer Armstrong tickets over Ashe. Armstrong always gets good close matches and if you have a ticket, you cut to the front of the line. You can also go back and forth Grandstand and Armstrong without having to go back out and line up. I think there are Armstrong passes available, but I've only bought individual tickets. With Ashe, if you're not a long-time subscriber, you are relegated to seats so high up you might as well watch on TV.

2. Multi-day and subscription plans are available to buy now but most of the good seats and sessions are likely sold out. A lot of people buy next years' subscription really really early; they just renew during the tournament.

3. Labor Day weekend is very crowded and keeps getting more crowded every year. I've pretty much given up going on the weekend because I just can't deal with the crowd anymore. This is the reason I recommend having Armstrong tickets as it will allow you entry even if the stadium is "full". Planting yourself on a court might be the best strategy if you only have a grounds pass. I recommend Court 17 as well.

4. 5pm
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Old 06-08-2015, 04:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

If your goals are to see the best players up close without the hassle, long lines and cost of US Open, think about heading to Cincinnati Masters 1000 two weeks earlier. As a mandatory event, it gets almost all the same players as the Open, 9 of 10 who practice in courts with lots of open seating. Center Court seats (Terrace level, about 25 rows high from the court, lower seats sold out already except from scalpers/resellers) run from $45 early in week up to $80 for finals. ALL other competition courts are first come seats so earliest birds can sit courtside, which works if coming before semis (Saturday) as most matches are on Center Court by then. Food and lodging costs are far more reasonable than NY, although train travel on Amtrak isn't nearly as convenient as DC to NYC and the venue doesn't have good public transportation --- really need a car unless staying at one of the nearby hotels that runs a shuttle. Hope this helps.

Terrace Level seats on Center Court are top third tier on the left, lower seats sold out for later in week but available from scalpers & re-sellers.


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Old 06-08-2015, 06:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

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Originally Posted by T.C View Post
1. I personally prefer Armstrong tickets over Ashe. Armstrong always gets good close matches and if you have a ticket, you cut to the front of the line. You can also go back and forth Grandstand and Armstrong without having to go back out and line up. I think there are Armstrong passes available, but I've only bought individual tickets. With Ashe, if you're not a long-time subscriber, you are relegated to seats so high up you might as well watch on TV.

2. Multi-day and subscription plans are available to buy now but most of the good seats and sessions are likely sold out. A lot of people buy next years' subscription really really early; they just renew during the tournament.

3. Labor Day weekend is very crowded and keeps getting more crowded every year. I've pretty much given up going on the weekend because I just can't deal with the crowd anymore. This is the reason I recommend having Armstrong tickets as it will allow you entry even if the stadium is "full". Planting yourself on a court might be the best strategy if you only have a grounds pass. I recommend Court 17 as well.

4. 5pm
Thanks for the feedback. I had read elsewhere about the most important perk about getting Armstrong seats - bypass the line into the stadium. I'd guess that isn't an insignificant perk on the middle weekend of the U.S. Open.

I didn't get a chance to go to Court 17 last year because of CiCimania on the day I was there (the lines to get into her early evening match there were insane), but I really, really liked the setup of new Courts 4-6 where you can watch two matches simultaneously on Courts 4/5 or Courts 5/6 AND if you sitting near the top of the north baseline seats can also turn around and watch action on the practice courts.

Despite the fact buying a multi-day, weekend pass puts me in the nosebleeds at Ashe, it does get me into the grounds without paying a Ticketmaster Exchange premium and does allow me to see matches, particularly evening matches, in Ashe if I want to. I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the weekend pass soon, maybe as early as tonight.

Thanks again for your response.

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Old 06-08-2015, 07:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

Bobbynorwich - I appreciate your suggestion. I don't intend to attend Cincinnati this year, but the Western and Southern Open is on my radar for the future. I'd love to get there sometime in the next 5 years or so. Actually, what I'd love to do is eventually complete both the Grand Slam (i.e. attend all 4 majors) and what I call the U.S. Grand Slam (attend the U.S. Open and the 3 Masters/Premiers at Indian Wells, Miami, and Cincinnati).

Ironically, about a month ago I broke up with a woman I'd been dating for about 6 months who A) is a tennis fan and B) grew up about 15 miles from the Cincinnati Masters/Premier 5 tournament site in Mason, OH. I was already thinking about the perk of not having to find hotel lodging for the Western and Southern Open if I attended (LOL).

Incidentally, I live about 3 miles from the Citi Open (ATP 500/WTA International tournament) site in DC, so I attend at least a session or two in that tournament every year. I'm thinking of splurging this year and buying a full tournament pass this year and attending the entire sessions on a couple of the days and attending parts of the sessions on most of the other days, including qualifying.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

In regards to 3, I was there exactly the same day and was able to catch coric/kyrgios after the tsonga/nishikori grandstand matches. The trick was two-fold:

1) Leave Tsonga after a set and a half because it was going to be routine against Nedovyesov. Andujar bent over and retired.

2) Watch the women's match (Stosur/kanepi) before the men go on the court. A lot of aussies were really camping that part of the grounds because of the schedule.

That day was really packed, the busiest i've seen it and i always avoid labor day weekend crowds. But that thursday landed right before the holiday weekend and I believe people took the extra days off. They've also expanded the complex, particularly the section where kyrgios and coric were playing that day.

I've been going for about a decade strictly by grounds passes (never went into Ashe), and by far you get the most entertainment for the dollar if you schedule wisely. For instance, it's worth it to watch an even men's match between mid-ranked players, instead of watching some top player swat a lesser being on armstrong/ashe. I also purchase my grounds pass a couple days beforehand in case of weather/wind without any problems.

If you really want to see the crowd-pleasers like wawrinka, monfils, or kyrgios, then you will have to suck it up and watch wta before their match. People just don't have the knowledge or stamina to stick around in between matches.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

reading your post further, I highly don't recommend going on labor day weekend. You won't be able to breathe and most likely will have to camp at one court the whole day if you want to have reasonable seats for some matches. That of course will include both wta/atp matches, but once you leave that seat after the first match, you will be standing the rest of the day or in a crappy seat on armstrong. It's just too crowded that friday-monday, that's why i always aim for 2r wed/thurs action.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

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Originally Posted by tennisfan856 View Post
In regards to 3, I was there exactly the same day and was able to catch coric/kyrgios after the tsonga/nishikori grandstand matches. The trick was two-fold:

1) Leave Tsonga after a set and a half because it was going to be routine against Nedovyesov. Andujar bent over and retired.

2) Watch the women's match (Stosur/kanepi) before the men go on the court. A lot of aussies were really camping that part of the grounds because of the schedule.

That day was really packed, the busiest i've seen it and i always avoid labor day weekend crowds. But that thursday landed right before the holiday weekend and I believe people took the extra days off. They've also expanded the complex, particularly the section where kyrgios and coric were playing that day.

I've been going for about a decade strictly by grounds passes (never went into Ashe), and by far you get the most entertainment for the dollar if you schedule wisely. For instance, it's worth it to watch an even men's match between mid-ranked players, instead of watching some top player swat a lesser being on armstrong/ashe. I also purchase my grounds pass a couple days beforehand in case of weather/wind without any problems.

If you really want to see the crowd-pleasers like wawrinka, monfils, or kyrgios, then you will have to suck it up and watch wta before their match. People just don't have the knowledge or stamina to stick around in between matches.
It sounds like you had an itinerary partially similar to mine for that first Thursday last year. I left Grandstand after the first set of Tsonga's match because I figured he'd win and I wanted to see Serena in action even though I'm not a fan of hers because I'd never seen her play before. Then I stayed in Ashe to watch Djokovic's match (only took 1 1/2 hours). At that point I wanted to go back to Grandstand or Armstrong to see another women's match, but the lines were super-long, so I went to one of the on-site stores instead and bought a couple T-shirts commemorating my first visit to the U.S. Open. After that, I went over to Courts 5/6 and saw the end of Stosur/Kanepi (and the end of the match on Court 6 that I cannot remember; I'm pretty sure that was also a women's match) before working to get a seat in north baseline seats for Courts 5/6 to watch Kyrgios/Seppi and Coric/Estrella Burgos.

With your last comment, I'm realizing that positioning yourself for a match you want to see on the outer courts is critical at the U.S. Open when there are large crowds, particularly in the mid-afternoon. I saw that first hand with the CiCi Bellis match I mentioned in my second post above; the line to get into Court 17 was nuts by the time the Coric and then Kyrgios matches were over and I didn't even try to get in line.

Incidentally, I agree with your other post to a large degree; I purposely picked the day I attended last year (Thursday first week - 2nd round) because of the big names (particularly Djokovic) playing during the day session but also because I figured the crowds wouldn't be as big and ticket prices on the secondary market wouldn't be as high. Additionally, the 2nd round gives you a lot of bang for the buck due to the high number of matches played (similar to the 1st round but probably somewhat higher quality). In an ideal world, I would attend the full second round (Wednesday-Thursday of the first week) with a grounds pass or the full quarterfinals (Tuesday-Wednesday of the second week) with a loge/2nd level Ashe pass to avoid the really big crowds, but multi-day passes for just those days aren't sold by the USTA. I'm starting to realize that buying a longer pass and then only attending some of the days that are part of that pass and selling the other days on the secondary market at a profit may be the way to buy tickets for and attend the U.S. Open. I may try to do that in 2016.

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Old 06-08-2015, 09:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

I think it depends on your mentality most importantly. The USO can be very difficult to enjoy if you are a match hopper after a set of play (forget about successfully doing this on labor day weekend), so I try to pick matches where I feel like I can be there for a while and avoid Fognini at all costs. He's played every time i go there and when i see the scoreboard, he's tanking the match. But he draws a huge crowd, naive Italian new yorkers don't realize what kind of player he is.

I always map it out in my head with the schedule after the first men's match on where to go. Unlike my dad, I do enjoy women's tennis so it is not difficult for me to watch them play while I wait for the men. The schedule always has the outside courts mixed with atp/wta play, there is no avoiding it. Unfortunately, most thursdays I go they throw in a heavy amount of doubles to catch up schedule-wise, so that could also be the reason for all the cramped space at singles. Wednesday is better but they mix 1R/2R action together and apart from 1 or 2 matches, 1R quality is usually poor. I have no interest in watching Noah Rubin lose to Delbonis on a popular grounds court. So I usually stick to an epic 4-5 setter on Wed. without seeing too many names.

People do like to leave after 3-5 games as I mentioned above. But, the huge drawback is there are usually a ton of people waiting to scoop up a seat. It truly is a free for all, so the best turnover time is when a set completes if you're lucky. People give up on the match for whatever reason.

i guess the best advice i can give you is map a route in your head when you print out the schedule, and make some on the spot decisions if the match doesn't go your way. If you see a set about to end on a court you're interested in, walk quickly to it because there will be quite a turnover. Weekends almost make this strategy impossible.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

By the way, if you have some cash that you can move into a JP Morgan/Chase account (at least $250,000) you can get tickets from Chase's Private Client. If you move a lot more (at least $1M), you can get access to the JP Morgan Chase box. You get tickets to later sessions (R4 vs. quarters vs. semis) the more you transfer in.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:18 AM   #11
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Default Re: Questions about U.S. Open multi-day passes

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Originally Posted by T.C View Post
By the way, if you have some cash that you can move into a JP MorganChase account (at least $250,000) you can get tickets from Chase's Private Client. If you move a lot more (at least $1M), you can get access to the JP Morgan Chase box. You get tickets to later sessions (R4 vs. quarters vs. semis) the more you transfer in.
And if I transfer $10M, can I get a personal audience with the player of my choice? If so, I'm there.
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