About the US Open
The US Open Tennis Championships is a hardcourt tennis tournament. Since 1987 it’s served as the fourth and final of the Grand Slam annual tennis tournaments. The event is currently held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. The US Open traditionally starts on the last Monday of August and continues for two weeks, with the middle weekend matching up with the US Labor Day holiday.
The tournament, however, is one of the oldest tennis championships in the world. The US Open got its start as the US National Championship for men’s singles and men’s doubles play as far back as August 1881.
Today, the tournament consists of five primary championships: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and a mixed doubles tournament. In addition, the tournament also includes events for senior, junior, and wheelchair players. The entire event is owned and organized by the United States Tennis aSsociation (USTA), a non-profit organization. Revenue from the event’s ticket sales, sponsorships, and Television contracts are used to develop the sport of tennis in the United States.
How the Tournament is Organized
The US Open employs standard tiebreakers (first to 7, win by 2) in every singles match. Other events use special scoring methods for a match that reaches 6-6 in the last possible set. The decisive set continues until a player takes a two-game lead.
History of the US Open
The first US Open was held in August 1881 on grass courts at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. During that year, only clubs that were members of the US National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) were permitted to enter. This tournament was won by Richard Sears in men’s singles, which was the first of his consecutive singles titles. Since then, from 1884 through 1911, the tournament used a challenge system where the defending champion automatically qualified for hte next year’s final, where he would play the winner of the all-comers tournament.
As you can guess, only men competed in the early years of the event and the tournament was known as the US National Singles Championships for Men. But that changed in September 1887, six years after the men’s nationals were first held. At this time, the first US Women’s National Singles Championships were held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. The winner of this first tournament was 17 year-old Ellen Hansell from Philadelphia. The men’s doubles event was also held that year, but it was played at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club in South Orange, New Jersey.
Similarly with the men’s tournament, the women’s tournament used a challenge system that lasted from 1888 through 1918, except in 1917.
Since then, the tournament has expanded into the annual event it is today. With the US Open serving as the final event of the four event Grand Slam. With only the best of the best coming out on top as Grand Slam winners by winning at all four events.
With several facilities present, the US Open is one of the most attended sporting events in the world. The annual recorded attendance easily would flood the Arthur Ashe Stadium alone, but between all the courts, seats sell out fast. Here’s an idea of how full the events are from this past year to 2010.
- 2021: 631,134
- 2020: 0 (Due to the pandemic, 2020’s US Open was a behind closed doors event)
- 2019: 737,872
- 2018: 732,663
- 2017: 691,143
- 2016: 688,542
- 2015: 691,280
- 2014: 713,642
- 2013: 713,026
- 2012: 710,803
- 2011: 658,664
- 2010: 712,976
About Arthur Ashe Stadium
Arthur Ashe Stadium is a tennis stadium at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, New York. As part of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, it is easily one of the greatest tennis stadiums in the world. It’s also the main stadium of the US Open Tennis Tournament with a capacity of 23,771 spectators, making it the largest tennis stadium in the world.
It was opened in 1997 and was named after Arthur Ashe, winner of the inaugural 1968 US Open, the first in which professionals could compete. The stadium design did not feature a roof initially, but after several years of event delays due to inclement weather, a lightweight retractable roof was installed in 2016.
The facility was built to replace Louis Armstrong Stadium as the primary venue for the US Open tournament. It had a construction cost of $254 million and originally only had 15,547 seats along with 90 luxury suites, five restaurants, and a two-level player’s lounge. Even during this first incarnation, it was the largest tennis-only venue in the world.
The stadium opened on August 25, 1997 with its first US Open event, with Whitney Houston singing “One Moment in Time” during the inauguration ceremonies. The performance was dedicated to the late Arthur Ashe, who gave the stadium its name.
Since then, the stadium hosted the first-ever outdoor regular season WNBA game in 2008, when the Indiana Fever beat the host New York Liberty 71-55 on July 19 of that year. The game also stood out as a fundraising event for breast cancer research.
The players have appreciated the Hawk-Eye electronic system as it allows players to challenge the umpire’s decision on calls made throughout the championships. It also features an electric blue and light green color scheme that makes it easier to track the ball, especially for television viewers.
Besides tennis, the stadium has also been used for other events. Including the Fortnite World Cup on July 26-28, 2019. This three-day esports event had a prize pool of $30 million, of which $3 million was awarded to the winner fo the finals. The stadium also hosted All Elite Wrestling on September 22, 2021. This also marked it as AEW’s debut show in New York City as well as the first professional wrestling show to ever be held at the tennis complex.