The U.S. Open Is Going to Be Very Different This Year

Federer’s back, and Serena’s out. What to watch for as the tournament begins in New York.

The U.S. Open is an end-of-summer ritual like no other: The climax of the professional tennis season is a glamorous, raucous welcome back from the beaches and mountains to New York, a city that imparts on the most enormous of all tennis tournaments its signal swarm and swagger.

Federer Back In US Open 2017


To be there is special, though not exclusive: More than 700,000 people are expected to file into the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center over the next two weeks. In and around the city, it’s the one time of year when tennis is the sports conversation. The Yankees’ playoff chances and Odell Beckham Jr.’s soundness can wait.

The U.S. Open is an end-of-summer ritual like no other: The climax of the professional tennis season is a glamorous, raucous welcome back from the beaches and mountains to New York, a city that imparts on the most enormous of all tennis tournaments its signal swarm and swagger.

To be there is special, though not exclusive: More than 700,000 people are expected to file into the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center over the next two weeks. In and around the city, it’s the one time of year when tennis is the sports conversation. The Yankees’ playoff chances and Odell Beckham Jr.’s soundness can wait.

If you’re going out to Flushing Meadows to the matches in person, then sure, catch Federer and Venus if you have the opportunity. Who knows how many chances remain? But don’t pass up a chance to see the up-and-coming players who could wind up as tennis greats: the young American Madison Keys, Muguruza, and French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia are emerging on the women’s side; on the men’s, Austria’s Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios of Australia, and Germany’s Alexander “Sascha” Zverev. They’re all remarkable, each in her or his own way, and you’ll be able to say you saw them when.

Beyond that, get to the new Grandstand if you can—it’s a superb tennis venue. If you’re going for a day session during week one, stay out of cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium and stroll the side courts. It’s a rare chance to see top pros in settings as intimate as you’d find at a small college. Don’t skimp on the doubles matches, wherever on the grounds they have them. 

And stay late: ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3 will provide coverage from 11 a.m. each day until at least 11 p.m. It’s not unusual for night sessions to run past midnight.

Every morning of the tournament, I’ll provide a guide to the day’s best matches: who to watch and how to watch them. See you Monday.

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