The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing is a popular spot for tennis fans this week.
Fans can watch top players, like Russia's Karen Khachanov and Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, practice, or watch qualifying matches to decide which 16 men and 16 women will join top seeds in the main draw, which starts Monday.
"This is really where the stars are born," said Stacey Allaster, the chief executive of Professional Tennis, USTA.
It's United States Tennis Association's US Open Fan Week, seven days of free activities at the tennis center leading up to one of the world's most popular sporting events. There will be concerts and DJs at the Fan Week Center Stage, happy hours, and the Net Generation Kids' Zone, which not only features tennis but a bunch of different sports that young fans can try out.
"Something for everyone as it relates…to getting youth leading healthy and active lifestyles and using tennis as our platform," Allaster said.
Fan Week features some matches with some of the great names of the game hitting the court: John McEnroe, Lindsay Davenport, and Martina Navratilova. And for the first time, Arthur Ashe Stadium is open for visitors to check out and watch top seeds practice. We got lucky and watched Wimbledon Champ Simona Halep of Romania work on returning serves.
Fans say it's a great way to spend the day — and free admission is pretty great too.
"I used to think the ground passes the first week of the tournament was the best deal in town, but I have been converted," tennis fan Doug Parker said. "This is the best deal in town, absolutely."
"You can sit up close, get up close and personal with everybody, really see how they play, watch the tournament. It's wonderful," fan Patty Donnelly said.
The USTA says it's all about giving back to devoted fans of the sport, and creating some new fans — even players — in the process.
"Anyone who has never come to the US Open or played tennis," Allaster said. "is going to leave the US Open going, 'I think I might want to try tennis.'"
Saturday is the popular Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the tennis center. And for the first time, you can sit in the upper level of Arthur Ashe Stadium for free. To find out more about that, and all the other events for Fan Week, head to usopen.org