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August 24, 2011
By Jessica Flint | sports

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You've been served. Photo courtesy of iStock.

Oh, hello. We know you. You're that country club tennis player who gloats that you could return Andy Roddick's 155-mph serve. Well, start beefing up your return game: The United States Tennis Association is giving you a chance to play the pros. Now in its second year, the USTA's men's and women's US Open National Playoffs tournament grants the tournament winner a wild card into the US Open qualifying round, which started August 23. Winning qualifiers end up in the main draw, which starts August 29. "I'm just really glad they have this, because it's gotten me into the US Open twice now," says Blake Strode, who has won the men's playoffs the last two years. If you're too afraid to walk the walk (and having hit with Andy Murray, this author advises not attempting to return a pro's serve), purchase a US Open Supreme Package, which offers Arthur Ashe loge-level seating. While the package doesn't include seats in Section 54, which is closest to the USTA President's box for good people watching, it does come with breakfast in the player's dining room. Then you can brag to your country club companions that you at least talked to Roddick about his kicker. US Open, August 29-September 11; Supreme Ticket Package, $700-$1,600; Flushing, New York; 718/760-6363; usopen.org.

Did you know: New York City cult hairstylist Julien Farel has a VIP salon at the US Open

August 03, 2011
By Marnie Hanel | sports

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Like the tremendous swells the competitors hope for, the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing rolls into town this week through August 7, taking over a 14-acre waterfront stretch in Huntington Beach, California. Event organizers predict that more than 500,000 people will attend the competition, making it the world's biggest surf festival. It's a free-for-all of fun, with BMX bikes, skateboards and new Nike gear. "Essentially, it's like action-sports Mardi Gras," event organizer James Leitz told the Los Angeles Times. While surfers make a run for the U.S. Open title, land fans can unwind with performances by MGMT, Jimmy Eats World and The Sounds in what's being billed as the largest summer concert of the year. Through August 7, no tickets required. Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach, California; usopenofsurfing.com. usopenofsurfing.com.

Next step: Learn how to surf in Rio, Bali, Hawaii, and San Diego and Montauk. Plus! Brazil's Surfing Paradise and good surfing vibrations along Northern California's old Hippie Highway

Going for the gold at Huntington Beach, California. Photo courtesy of Nike U.S. Open of Surfing

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