US Open Facts

Once a year the US Open is held in Flushing, New York at the United States Tennis Association's (USTA) National Tennis Center. Professionals come from around the world to compete in this Grand Slam event that's held every year over a two week period before Labor Day in late August into early September. US Open facts about this prestigious sporting event play an important role in the history of American sports.

First national championships

The very first U.S. Men's National Championships were held in August of 1881 on the grass courts of Newport Casino, Rhode Island as entertainment for high society where only amateur players were welcome. Competition was restricted to male members of clubs in the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA). Richard Sears was the first men's singles winner and Clarence Clark and W.F. Taylor won the U.S. National Doubles Championship. It wasn't until 1887 that the first U.S. Women's National Singles Championships was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club where Ellen Hansell claimed victory.

The early years of competition

A couple of years after the first women's singles championship, doubles competition was added at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. In 1892, the tournament expanded to include mixed doubles. During the early years of competition, tournaments were held at different locations on the east and west coasts with the winners attending the national competition in Forest Hills.

The open era begins

The U.S. National Championships moved around for many years until all events consolidated in 1968 at the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills, New York and it was renamed the US Open. This was the first year that professional tennis players were allowed to compete with 96 men and 63 women entered hoping to share in the $100,000 prize.

Surfaces of the US Open

Initially at Forest Hills, the Open was played on grass, but then the surface was changed to clay Har-Tru. When the Open championships moved to its current home in Flushing Meadows, New York, the Open surface was changed again to a hard surface called DecoTurf.

Other US Open facts

Many firsts in tennis have occurred at the US Open:

  • Arthur Ashe won the very first US Open men's singles title in 1968.
  • Jimmy Connors won the men's single championship on all three surfaces, the only winner to ever accomplish this feat.
  • The US Open was the first Grand Slam event to utilize a tiebreak in 1970 when the set score tied at six games all.
  • Instant replay reviews (Hawk-Eye computer system) were used for the first time at a Grand Slam tournament at the 2006 US Open.
  • Martina Navratilova holds 16 US Open titles, the most of any player in the open era.

For American tennis fans, every Grand Slam tournament is an exciting time to watch their favorite players compete. What sets the US Open apart, and what makes it a favorite of professional tennis stars who come there to play, is the high energy of New York City and the passion of the fans that attend every year.

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