Before the 30-year-old Rafael Nadal lost in the 4th round this year, I got to see his domination on the court for the first time. It wasn’t my first rodeo at the US Open, but seeing the two time US Open champ and 14 Grand Slam winner, perform and dazzle in person was awe-inspiring. Nadal lost in the 4th round to a 22-year-old Frenchman with no Grand Slam wins to his name.
While Rafa may no longer be in his prime, the USTA’s US Open sure is! From unveiling the new retractable roof to the Honey Deuce knocking the Mint Julep off the court, nothing is hotter than Willets Point during these last days of summer. While Arthur Ashe stadium was ready for anything Hermine had to offer, the true victory was the ability of the USTA to get the brand new retractable roof accomplished on time, on budget, and without disturbing play.
But all isn’t perfect – the audio system is horrendous. You can barely make out announcements on the PA system or calls by the empire. Lucky I had the American Express radio broadcasting ESPN’s coverage to supplement. The stadium was built to be an open space but once they decided to top it off, seems no one gave thought to the sound.
While the retractable roof has gotten all the attention, the real winner is the atmosphere the USTA has created turning the grounds into a modern, open and exciting atmosphere. The improvements don’t sacrifice the game but enhance it. From the sponsorship booths – that aren’t just simple, cheap, or one dimensional – to the practice courts and grandstands, each space creates a unique experience.
No matter your appetite or mood there are food and drink choices to satisfy your every carving. From chicken tenders to tacos, to Heineken and Grey Goose Vodka, there is no way you won’t leave satisfied – although your wallet may have a severe hangover.
But among the food and booze items that are offered the winner hands down is the #HoneyDeuce by Grey Goose. While you can get other Grey Goose infused cocktails at their booth in the food court, NONE compare to the Honey Deuce. Although they cost a steep $15 a glass, it’s WORTH it! For starters you get a souvenir cup that lists all the US Open winners since 1968. So you don’t have to over pay for a souvenir at the gift shop that probably won’t get used. Unlike other stadium drinks the Honey Deuce is a damn good size with a hefty pour of quality Grey Goose vodka. Once you’re done “sipping” the Honey Deuce, you’ll find yourself eating the tennis ball shaped melon balls wishing there were free refills.
Now comes my only complaint about the drink, for anyone sitting in the 300s or high 100s section, there is only ONE Grey Goose stand in Arthur Ashe. And the line gets loooooong. I’ve found it’s actually quicker to leave the stadium during the evening session and visit one of the outdoor stands. And while you’re outside the stadium, you might as well order the 2 drink max so you won’t have to leave again and miss a matchpoint.