As has become seemingly standard, star tennis player Serena Williams has had an impressive year. She’s been globe-trotting all over the place, racking up victories and enough trophies that she’ll probably need to check several bags in order to bring them all home.
Now, she’s poised to achieve the greatest accomplishment in tennis: a single-season or “career” Grand Slam, in which a player wins all four majors (the most important tennis events held each year) in the same calendar year. The last woman to accomplish this feat was Steffi Graf in 1988, while the last man to do so was Rod Laver in 1969. In Williams’ case, the deciding verdict will come from her performance at this year’s U.S. Open, now currently underway.
Here’s a look at where in the world Serena Williams has been playing tennis (and taking names) throughout 2015, plus tips for where to stay in order to get in on the action at the U.S. Open.
Serena’s Trips to the Majors and Beyond
Williams won her first major of the year in beautiful Melbourne, which served as host to her victory at this year’s Australian Open. She defeated veteran tennis star Maria Sharapova in the finals, earning her sixth Australian Open title in the process. She also posted the fastest women’s serve (126 mph) and served more aces (88) than any other woman competitor.
While it’s not a major tournament, Williams’ return to the Indian Wells Masters (aka BNP Paribas Open) was significant in its own right: Williams lifted a more-than-a-decade-long boycott of the tournament after a racist incident caused her and her sister, Venus Williams, to withdraw from the competition in 2001. Part of that history repeated itself this year when Williams withdrew from the semifinal because of a knee injury.
A week after Indian Wells, Williams handily cleaned up at the Miami Open. While not a masters, her win in Miami signaled a host of accomplishments: It marked her eighth Miami Open title and her 21st consecutive winning match, and ticked her number of career wins past 700 (yes, you read that right).
After winning in Miami, Williams hit the clay court circuit in Europe, first at the Fed Cup World Group Play-Off in Italy and then at the Madrid Open in Spain. Williams was, somewhat shockingly, handed her first loss of the season in the Madrid semifinals.
After losing in Madrid and withdrawing from the subsequent Italian Open because of an elbow injury, Williams found herself facing down her next shot at a major title in Paris, France. The city shed its romantic reputation and embraced hard-hitting athleticism for this year’s French Open, where Williams once again dominated on the (clay) court. She defeated Lucie Safarova to win her third French Open crown.
Williams then flew to London, UK to compete at the prestigious Wimbledon Championships. She handily defeated first-time finalist Garbiñe Muguruza to earn her sixth Wimbledon crown.
Following on the heels of her victory at Wimbledon, Williams traveled to Båstad, Sweden to compete in the Swedish Open. She swiftly defeated her first opponent, but withdrew from the rest of the tournament after her previous elbow injury flared up again.
New York City
Now back in her home country, Williams is vying for her seventh title at the U.S. Open, held just outside of Manhattan in Flushing, Queens. A win here will earn her both the coveted single-season Grand Slam and her 22nd victory at a major championship.
Seeing History in Action
Thinking about flying to New York City to witness amazing athleticism with your own eyes? We’ve got you covered. Here’s where to stay while enjoying the U.S. Open.
- If you can find an available room, stay right in the heart of the action by booking a hotel in Flushing.
- If Flushing is booked up (or over budget), stay in nearby Jamaica, Queens or Long Island City (also in Queens).
- Prefer to stay in Manhattan? Make the stay as memorable as the athletic competition by booking a boutique hotel or even a luxury hotel in the heart of the city. Or go the low-budget route at any of these cheaper hotels.
- Traveling with children? Check into any of these family-friendly establishments.
Getting from Manhattan to Flushing
So you’ve booked a hotel in Manhattan and are pumped to feast your eyes on the best athleticism that tennis has to offer. There’s only one obstacle left between you and glory, and that’s the trip from Manhattan to Queens. Here are your best bets for making it to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park:
- Rent a car. Traffic on the Grand Central Parkway East will be nuts, but the trade-off is having somewhere to store your belongings while you’re inside the stadium. Visit USOpen.org for the latest travel advisories and follow directions closely as traffic patterns in the area have changed.
- Call a cab. While the route will likely be the same regardless of whether you take a taxi or do the driving yourself, the benefit of a taxi ride is that you won’t need to worry about parking before, during, or after the event. Call a cab well in advance to help cut down on the wait.
- Take the subway. The subway gets crowded during the U.S. Open, but it’s likely still the best way to get to Flushing (that’s probably why more than half of the tournament’s patrons utilize public transportation). Just take the No. 7 from Times Square, Fifth Avenue, or Grand Central Station. Visit mta.info for complete schedules.
- Ride the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). The LIRR provides service from Woodside (in Queens) and offers easy connections from Penn Station for those utilizing New Jersey Transit. Visit www.mta.info/lirr for schedules and rates.
No matter where you stay, you’re guaranteed to be dazzled at the U.S. Open. And if Williams wins? Being there will earn you bragging rights for life.