An Ode to the US Open (Tennis)

Oh, US Open, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

The fame, the fare, the fashion, the late nights. We realize we could be talking about the Oscars, but we’re actually talking about the Oscars of sports, if you will. The event that just might take the cake (pun intended) as the hippest, coolest, most fabulous sporting event of the year. 

Even if you don’t follow tennis, the US Open is one tournament to watch. Speaking of…Did you know you can buy a grounds pass and hang out at the Open without tickets to the matches? Yep, that’s yet another reason why we love it so much. You can explore the beautiful grounds, watch the matches on any number of TV screens, and enjoy all the delicious fare. But more on that later…

Here’s a few more reasons we think the US Open (tennis) is the coolest sporting event of the year. 

The Fame

The US Open is played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, one of New York City’s boroughs. And let’s be frank, NYC is an incredible place to take in a sporting event (or any event). NYC is simply cool by default. And spotting a celebrity in the stands is hardly a challenge; when it comes to the US Open, it’s a guarantee. The seats are peppered with Hollywood stars, politicians, musicians, and all sorts of famous faces. The US Open is absolutely a “see and be seen” event.

Former President Bill Clinton and famous sex therapist,
Dr. Ruth, 
take in a match together at this year’s US Open.

For opening night this year, to watch Serena Williams play ahead of her retirement, the stars were absolutely out in full force at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Tickets that were already a hot commodity became next to impossible to source. After Williams announced her decision to step away from the sport she’s dominated for so long, prices jumped over 300%. 😲 You had to know someone who knows someone to get a seat—or be famous.

From designer Vera Wang to actor Hugh Jackman to former president Bill Clinton, the Open has played host to a number of celebrities this year, including Amanda Seyfried, Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Seal, Danai Gurira, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, Bradley Beal, Bella Hadid, Spike Lee, Trevor Noah, Minka Kelly…and the list goes on.

For a full rundown of celebs who graced the stands with their presence (and photos of their outfits, obviously), check this out.

The Fare

You can’t have a major tennis tournament in a gastronomic capital like New York without showcasing amazing concessions. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a tournament that features celebrity chefs and special pop-up restaurants like the Open does. (It probably won’t surprise you for a second that the food is one of the cornerstones of our love affair with this tournament.) From local NYC faves to international fare, the dining experiences are unparalleled and the options abound.

This year is no exception. Joining the celebrity roster of US Open chefs again in 2022 is five-time Michelin star awardee chef Michael White. Known for his landmark restaurants in NYC, he curated an exclusive menu for Aces, the Open’s preeminent seafood stop, and he joined Michelin star recipients chef Ed Brown and Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who once again teamed up to dazzle diners. US Open guests are enjoying their fresh, delicately prepared fish, hand-crafted maki, and White’s unparalleled pasta. We are proud to say we have enjoyed Chef Bianco’s (as he calls himself) food on a few occasions and we can attest to the fact that it is absolutely, ridiculously delicious. 

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli and her US Open restaurant, Fare by Alex Guarnaschelli, has returned for a second consecutive year. She’s brought back some fan favorites like her watermelon and feta salad and her cavatappi pasta with yellow tomato sauce. She also introduced new dishes like her play on a “pigs in a blanket” with a Pat LaFrieda beef hot dog in a puff pastry served alongside grainy mustard and spiced ketchup. (Sounds like one fancy hot dog we’d love to get our hands on, ASAP!)

Also back to share his culinary goodness is chef David Burke with his Cuban-American fusion spot, Mojito by David Burke (located on the ground floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium). And joining him is chef Josh Capon who has brought back his venue Fly Fish, where he serves up tuna poke, bay scallop ceviche, oysters, and the quintessential US Open dish, the lobster roll. (Lobster rolls are a favorite NY summer food particularly found in abundance in the Hamptons, where bougie New Yorkers summer.) 

And as if this food lineup wasn’t already amazing enough, US Open goers can also chow down on fare from James Beard Award-winning chef JJ Johnson’s Fieldtrip, located in in the US Open Food Village, and other NYC faves from Pat LaFrieda Meat Co., San Matteo NYC, Hill Country BBQ, Korilla BBQ, Poke Yachty, Eataly, and Fuku (from chef David Chang). And this year they’re joined by five brand-spankin’ new spots: Nourish Spot, Taqueria Nixtamal, Van Leeuwen Ice Cream (a fave of ours in the city), Crabby Shack, and Gourmet Garage.

If you’re lucky enough to attend or are just curious (like we were) to see all the delicious food that’s available, here’s a complete guide of dining options. Like we mentioned before, all you need to enjoy most of this deliciousness is a grounds pass, which is far easier to come by than tickets to a match in Louis Armstrong or Arthur Ashe stadiums. Farting around the grounds at the US Open is like hanging out in the downtown Disneyland of food sportsdom. Or something like that.

The Fashion

Given that NYC is also America’s fashion capital, it wouldn’t be the US Open without some very unique style. It’s the tournament where brands like Nike and even New Balance really step up their collective game, showcasing new and unique fashions, designed specifically for certain athletes and only for the US Open. While we will desperately miss Serena Williams for her tennis (among a multitude of other reasons), we will also and most certainly miss her outfits. The queen has served us so many incredible looks over the years. Who else could get away with playing tennis in a tutu? 

Serena Williams and her purple tutu at the 2018 US Open

This year we’ve loved Coco Gauff’s New Balance getup and Rafa Nadal, clad head to toe in pink. 

When it comes to fashion, New Yorkers are known for dressing to the nines. It’s no different for Open goers. Tennis attire is a mix of summery chic and country club-esque, interspersed with a little bit of a fun mixed bag. Quintessential NY sports spectator, Spike Lee, never disappoints. This year, he showed up a couple times in a Morehouse College blazer and matching sneakers.  

There’s not necessarily a “dress code” to follow per se; however, there are definitely some expectations. Think fancy garden party meets the PGA Tour with a twist of Churchill Downs. And blend that with something classy, lightweight, and cool. It is New York in the summer, after all. Whatever it is, we’re here for it, and we love checking the blogs to see what everyone is wearing on and off the court.

It goes without saying, there is also…the tennis. The level of play and competition at the Open is always a spectacle to behold. And as huge tennis fans, we always look forward to the final tennis major of the year. It’s the best, and there’s no two ways about it. You can’t beat those night matches under the lights on Ashe, even the ones that stretch until after two in the morning. (Yes, we stay up for all of them. Happily. And if that behind-the-back shot by Alcaraz wasn't the shot of this year's tournament, we don't know what was!) Now, if only we could score tickets to ‘em all…



Photo credits (from top): Twitter, Jimmie 48 Tennis Photography, Getty Images

Tags: us open, tennis
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