‘It’s an experience – it’s a New York experience,’ Kenneth Wyllie said. ‘Only in New York can you have an experience like this – the crowds, the excitement, the upsets, the great tennis … you can people watch, you see stars. It has it all.’
The Wyllies, from Teaneck, N.J., aren’t the only people drawn to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y., for at least one day during the two-week tournament each year. Approximately 700,000 spectators visit the grounds to see some of the world’s best including Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Angelique Kerber and more.
The US Open provides a unique experience for diehard tennis fans and casual observers alike. While the biggest stars highlight Arthur Ashe Stadium, spectators are still able to get an up-close view of these legends at the practice courts before their matches.
‘You see them volleying and warming up and they’re right there,’ Ora Wyllie said. ‘We’re standing around watching them; we aren’t even in the bleachers.’
The more intimate viewing experience is something Kenneth Wyllie, who has been attending the US Open since 1975 when it used to be played in Forest Hills, N.Y., enjoys.
‘When you see them at ground level, you have a new appreciation for the talent these athletes have,’ he said. ‘It makes them so much more different than every other tennis player you know, including yourself. You have a new appreciation for what they go through.’
The US Open isn’t just for locals, though. People travel from all across the globe to get a first-hand glimpse of their favorite players or to soak in this Grand Slam event. Olof Wallquist traveled from Basel, Switzerland, to watch the first two days of the Open. The tennis fan has been to Wimbledon, the Madrid Open and the French Open, but had never been to the US Open until this week.
‘I’ve been all over the grounds,’ he said. ‘I think it’s well-organized and easy to get around. You don’t have to wait too long to get into the courts. It’s nice.’