With my parents visiting I figured this would be a good time to visit the US Open. I was able to get first row courtside tickets for Arthur Ashe stadium from the concierge at the Ritz Carlton Central Park for Sunday’s day session. Thanks to the rainout on Saturday, we were able to see Andre Agassi play Benjamin Becker in what would be Andre’s final match of his career.

US Open Tickets

This was my first time at the Open, and I have to admit the experience was pretty surreal. We were sitting in the front row courtside opposite the umpire’s chair, so our view was unobstructed except for the press box in front of us, but the cameramen were positioned fairly low, so it wasn’t a problem. The seats were closer to the court than I imagined. I could see the sweat and clenched teeth; I could hear the crystal clear pop of the ball off the racquet. The atmosphere in the stadium was awesome, and we were right in the middle of it.

US Open - Agassi Return

I wish I could say the match itself was great also, or at least that Andre played well. After the match Andre said his back was bothering him from the beginning, and it showed. He wasn’t moving well at all, his shots were weak, and it was painful to watch him play. Hats off to Benji for putting up with the rowdy New York crowd and giving Andre some decent points to remember.

US Open - Benjamin Becker's Serve

After the match Andre gave his farewell speech. I just watched a replay of it a few hours ago on TV, and I have to admit it does sound a bit dramatized and orchestrated. Yet, being in the stadium and hearing it live, I thought it sounded very sincere and heartfelt even if the speech itself was not extemporaneous. However, this is not to say that I buy everything he said or all the emotional hype spewing from every tennis media outlet.

US Open - Agassi's Farewell Speech

As for entertaining tennis, that was supplied by the Roddick vs. Verdasco match. I started out cheering for Roddick along with the rest of the crowd.

US Open - Andy Roddick's Serve

After watching a couple games, though, I became enthralled with Verdasco’s play. His groundstrokes were amazing, especially his forehand when he went all out. Plus his movement was a lot more fluid and lively than Roddick’s. Verdasco’s game was definitely more entertaining to watch than Roddick’s, and I was pulling for him to win.

US Open - Fernando Verdasco

Sadly, though, Roddick’s serve gave him too many cheap (and boring) points and enabled him to pull out a five set win.  I wanted to see the Nadal match, but he was playing in Louis Armstrong stadium, and the line there was way too long.