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Video:Visitor's Guide to the U.S. Open

with Ted Menzies

The U.S. Open is the biggest American tennis tournament of the year and is a huge tourist attraction. If you're planning on attending, it's good to know your way around beforehand. Here's a visitor's guide to the U.S. Open.See Transcript

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Transcript:Visitor's Guide to the U.S. Open

Hi, I'm Ted Menzies for About.com with an overview of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

History of the U.S. Open

The US Open is a hard court tennis tournament that is the final leg in the professional tennis "grand slam," which consists of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open. It is one of the longest-running sporting events in the world, having named champions every year since 1881. Professional players have been competing since the start of the Open Era in 1968, and participate in men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles. The beginning of the Open Era saw matches being held at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York. The tournament moved to nearby Flushing Meadows Cornona Park in 1978 and has been played there ever since.

The Grounds at the U.S. Open

Arthur Ashe Stadium is the main venue at the tennis center, hosting the top seeded matches and finals. Prime time broadcasts are generally from Arthur Ashe. Louis Armstrong Stadium is right next door, and allows open seating for visitors holding ground passes. The grandstand and field courts are the sites for continuous tennis and practice sessions throughout the tournament. Grounds Admission tickets are the most economical way to see the open. For one ticket, you can choose to spend either the day or night session exploring the tennis center and taking in matches throughout the grounds. Grounds Admission does not include seating at Arthur Ashe Stadium. If you purchase a seat in Arthur Ashe Stadium, you are free to take in all of the tennis on the grounds, including your reserved seat at the main tennis venue.

How the U.S. Open Works

The big-name tennis stars automatically qualify to play in the tournament, but the open status means that any tennis professional may play in the qualifying tournament for a chance to play for the championship. The qualifying tournament is held for four days prior to the start of the main tournament, and best of all, it's free! Other free events include the Arthur Ashe Kids Day, with special events and games to get kids excited about tennis. The main walkway outside the stadiums is where you'll find the food court, offering a number of dining options and a popular spot to sit near the fountains and watch the action on a big screen. Security is tight during the US Open, and there are separate lines for people with no bags to check. Be sure to bring only necessary items -- a small bag with identification and some sunblock if you're attending the daytime session.

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