US Open (Tennis)
The United States Open Tennis Championships, known as the US Open tournament takes place in late August and early September of each year. It is the last Grand Slam tournament to be played in a calendar year and is considered by many as the most important of them four.
The tournament was inaugurated in 1881 at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island. Through the years it moved around places. Between 1924 and 1977 it was played at West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills, Queens, New York. Ever since 1978 it has been played in its current location, the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens. The surface of the courts has also changed through the years moving from grass (1881-1974) to clay (1975-1977) to acrylic hard courts (1978 until these days).
The US open started as a male only tournament. In 1887 the women's competition was added followed by men's and women's doubles. Mixed doubles and additional tournaments for senior, junior, and wheelchair players were added later on and all are included in the US Open.
The United States National Championship became an open tournament in 1968 (the year in which all Grand Slams became open and allowed participation of professional and unprofessional players alike).
Many initiatives were first implemented in the US Open. In 1970 it was the first Grand Slam to use tie breaks(it is still the only Grand Slam tournament to use the tie break in the last set). In 1973 it was the first Grand Slam tournament to award equal prize money to men and women. In 2006 it introduced the instant replay review using the Hawk-Eye computer system in which each player is allowed three challenges per set plus one additional challenge during a tiebreak to the umpire's decisions.
The tournament has seen many great players. In the early days Richard Sears, William Larned and Bill Tilden were the players that stood out. Lawrence Doherty was the first non American male player to win the tournament (1903). The tournament saw the success of many other foreign players such as the French players in the late 1920's and Australian players who between 1951 and 1970 got to have a representative in almost each final (excluding three) winning the title 14 times. 1969 and 1970 male finals were all Australian. In 1955, Tony Trabert was the last American player to win the title until 1968 in which Afro- American, Arthur Ashe won the first edition of the open era. Arthur Ashe was honored later on (in 1997) with naming the main new stadium, in the USTA National Tennis Center venue, after him. This stadium is the biggest tennis stadium in the world with a capacity of 22,547 seats and was built at the cost of 254 million Dollars.
Other great players that have shined through the open era are: Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer (with 5 wins each, Federer with 5 consecutive wins). John McEnroe (4 wins), Ivan Lendl (with 8 consecutive appearances in the final of which he won the title 3 consecutive times) and Andre Agassi ( with 6 appearances in the final from 1990 to 2005, of which he won the title twice).
Among the women, players that starred in the tournament in the old times are: Elisabeth Moore, Molla Bjurstedt Mallory, Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs. In the open era players that rose above all other players are: Billie Jean King (who was honored with naming the USTA National Tennis Center after her), Chris Evert and Serena Williams (a record of 6 wins each), Steffi Graf (5 wins out of 7 appearances in the final) and Martina Navartilova (4 wins in 7 appearances in the final).
When counting the doubles tournaments (men, women and mixed) then additional players are added to the list of records of the tournament. Bill Tilden, mentioned above, is the man with most titles in the history of the tournament (16 wins - 7 singles, 5 men's doubles and 4 mixed doubles)before the open era. After 1968 it is Bob Brian, current holder of the title in men's doubles (9 wins - 5 men's doubles and 4 mixed doubles).
Amongst the women players Margaret Osborne duPont ( 25 wins - 3 singles, 13 women's doubles and 9 mixed doubles), Margaret Court (18 wins - 5 singles, 5 women's doubles and 8 mixed doubles) and Martina Navartilova (16 wins - 4 singles, 9 women's doubles and 3 mixed doubles) are the most successful players in the history of the tournament.
Winners of the 2014 edition and current holders of titles are: Croatian Marin Čilić (first grand slam title) in the men's singles, Serena Williams in the women's singles (tying the 6 wins record of Chris Evert), twin brothers Mike and Bob Bryan in the men's doubles, Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina in the women's doubles and Indian Sania Mirza and Brzilian Bruno Soares in the mixed doubles.
The 2015 edition of the US open will be played from August 31 until September 13. Would it end with another title for one of the Big Four (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray)? or would one of the rising young talents such as Marin Cilic , Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic or Grigor Dimitrov win the men's singles title? In the women's singles tournament, would Serena Williams break the winning record of the tournament in modern times? or would Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Simona Halep,Eugenie Bouchard, Petra Kvitova, Madison Keys or Belinda Bencic prevent her from this historical achievement?
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