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How to watch the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament

Novak Djokovic 2021 U.S. Open
Novak Djokovic practicing at the 2021 U.S. Open (Image credit: U.S. Open)

It’s the end of August, which means that it’s time for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the final grand slam event of the year. The 2021 U.S. Open will officially take place from Aug. 30-Sept. 12 at the famous Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, N.Y. Under the lights of New York City and with many matches taking place in prime time, there will be plenty of intrigue surrounding the tournament.

On the men’s side, the biggest storyline is that Novak Djokovic not only looks to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most grand slam tennis titles of all time (currently the three are tied at 20), but in doing so he would also complete the calendar grand slam, winning the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year. Unfortunately, neither Federer nor Nadal will have the chance to stop him, as both are out of the tournament due to injuries. We are still waiting to see the official draw for the 2021 U.S. Open to learn what Djokovic’s path to history will look like.

With the women’s draw, there is no one player who everyone expects to win, but there are plenty who have a real good shot at it. Among the field are Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka, Aryna Sabalenka, Bianca Andreescu and Sofia Kenin. Some big injury news has also impacted the women's draw, as both Serena Williams and Venus Williams have dropped out of the U.S. Open due to  injuries.

In addition to all the players taking part in the tournament, there’s one other group making their return this year — the fans. All main draw matches will be open to the public after fans were banned during the 2020 due to the pandemic. They are sure to bring that extra level of excitement.

But before things get going with the main draw, there are four days of qualifying taking place in Flushing. Let’s dive into that and how you can watch those matches and later the full 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament.

How to watch the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament in the U.S.

ESPN will be the broadcast home for the 2021 U.S. Open, it’s 12th year in a row being involved in tournament coverage and the sixth consecutive year that it is the exclusive broadcaster from first serve to championship point.

The main draw will play across ESPN and ESPN2 on broadcast, as well as stream on ESPN3, ESPN Plus and the ESPN app. Coverage of the qualifying matches beginning on Aug. 24 will play exclusively on ESPN Plus.

ESPN is a cable sports network, meaning those with traditional cable subscriptions will need to ensure that their package includes ESPN (most do these days). If you’ve made the switch to a vMVPD streaming service, ESPN is included on all of the major platforms, including Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.

If you want to watch some of the coverage on ESPN Plus you will need to sign up separately for the streaming service, whether you have cable, vMVPD or have cut the cord entirely. ESPN Plus is available for a monthly subscription price of $6.99, or can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for a total monthly fee of $13.99.

How to watch the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament from anywhere in the world

The U.S. Open has international broadcast deals with multiple providers across the world, making sure different countries can see as much of the action as possible.

In the U.K. and Ireland, coverage will be available through Amazon Prime Video; TSN and RDS are handling the tournament in Canada; Eurosport is the exclusive broadcast partner in continental Europe; WOWOW will broadcast the tournament in Japan; Star India in the Indian subcontinent; beIN Sports in the Middle East and North Africa; ESPN International in Mexico, Central America, South America and Oceania; Fox Sports in Southeast Asia; and SuperSport in Sub-Saharan Africa.

There’s another option if you want a specific country’s broadcast but are not currently residing there, a virtual private network. A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer. 

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with action from anywhere in the world.View Deal

2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament schedule

The first round of the 2021 U.S. Open starts on Aug. 30 and will do on for two weeks until we have this year's champions. You can check out the full men's and women's singles draws, as well as all doubles action, on the U.S. Open website.

Here is the full slate of action for Sept. 12, the final day of the two week tournament.

Arthur Ashe Stadium - Noon ET
Women's Doubles: C. Gauff/C. McNally vs. S. Stosur/S. Zhang
Men's: N. Djokovic vs. D. Medvedev (not before 4 p.m. ET)

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.