When All Else Fails, You Can Always Watch The Tennis

Michael Levin
3 min readSep 13, 2021


Here are my final thoughts after the weekend of final matches at the U.S. Open, after having attended a record (for me) four times.

They say that anyone who was told even once that they were good looking moved to Los Angeles, but you could say the same thing about the U.S. Open.

When you come to see the tennis matches in Flushing, you find yourself surrounded by impossibly beautiful people who look totally relaxed because they have absolutely nothing to do tomorrow morning.

Or the morning after that, unless it’s something fabulous.

I guess being impossibly beautiful is somehow enough.

Model agencies used to prowl Arthur Ashe, passing out business cards to especially comely young women and handsome young men.

You could probably start an agency from scratch with all the attractive people who come here.

Tennis fans are different, because they typically don’t wear sweaters or sweatshirts emblazoned with the name of a favorite player.

They’re hardier.

Your average “stick and ball” sports fan would not expect to stay in an arena for more than two or three hours, yet tennis fans will watch matches for eight hours or more a day.

You have to be fit to have that kind of stamina for sitting still and watching other people do sports.

Another unique thing about the U.S. Open is that almost every man, and about half the women, are wearing baseball caps, but not a single baseball cap relates to any baseball team, ever.

This is the case even though the Mets play within an unforced error of the U.S. Tennis Center, at CitiField.

Instead, the hats signal other tennis fans that the wearers are very wealthy, belong to private clubs with insignias inscrutable to the Great Unwashed, and take vacations or live in luxurious places inaccessible to the common man or woman.

The hats also tell people that the wearers have been to the U.S. Open in previous years, as if anyone else cared.

Countless people have hats that say “US Open 2021,” which makes me wonder whether they aren’t entirely sure where they are, but if they just look at their hats, they will remember.

In addition to watching beautiful people and examining high-level hat logos, you can also enjoy many opportunities at the U.S. Open to shop, dine, or otherwise rest from the arduous task of watching other people play tennis.

You can buy an expensive car, you can buy an expensive drink, or you can buy an oversized tennis ball a foot in diameter, even as your wife is telling you that you’re the one who’s going to have to carry it on the plane, because she won’t touch it.

If you have the right credit card, you can sit in a lounge with other people with the same credit card.

I haven’t tried that, because I left home without it, but I see a lot of people doing that, so it must be pretty swell.

You can also get a free radio to listen to people talking about tennis, and you can spend a few minutes getting a portable charger so that you can continue to use your cell phone during the matches without fear of running out of power.

You can wander around and admire banners and large plaques celebrating great tennis players of the past.

You can even go to the box office and buy tickets to upcoming matches.

Oh, yes.

There’s one other thing you can do while at the USTA Tennis Center for the U.S. Open.

You can watch tennis.



Michael Levin

New York Times bestselling author, Michael has written, planned or edited more than 700 business books, business fables, and memoirs over the past 25 years.