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US Open (tennis)
US Open (tennis)

The United States Open Tennis Championships is a hard court tennis tournament. The tournament is the modern version of one of the oldest tennis championships in the world, the U.S. National Championship, for which men's singles and men's doubles were first played in 1881.

Since 1987, the US Open has been chronologically the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year. The other three, in chronological order, are the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon. The US Open starts on the last Monday of August and continues for two weeks, with the middle weekend coinciding with the U.S. Labor Day holiday.

The tournament consists of five primary championships: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, and mixed doubles. The tournament also includes events for senior, junior, and wheelchair players. Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, Queens, New York City. The US Open is owned and organized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA), a non-profit organization, and the chairperson of the US Open is Katrina Adams. Revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, and television contracts are used to develop tennis in the United States.

The US Open employs standard 7-points tiebreakers in every set of a singles match. For the other three Grand Slam events, there are special scoring methods for a match that reaches 6–6 in the last possible set (the third for women and the fifth for men): in the French Open, the decisive set continues until a player takes a two-game lead, in Australia, an extended tiebreaker to 10 points is played, and at Wimbledon, a standard tiebreaker is played only if the game score reaches 12–12. As with the US Open, those events use tiebreakers to decide the other sets.


The tournament was first held in August 1881 on grass courts at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island. That year, only clubs that were members of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA) were permitted to enter.[5] Richard Sears won the men's singles at this tournament, which was the first of his seven consecutive singles titles.[6]

From 1884 through 1911, the tournament used a challenge system whereby the defending champion automatically qualified for the next year's final, where he would play the winner of the all-comers tournament. In 1915, the national championship was relocated to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City. The effort to relocate it to New York City began as early as 1911 when a group of tennis players, headed by New Yorker Karl Behr, started working on it.[7]

In the first years of the U.S. National Championship, only men competed and the tournament was known as the U.S. National Singles Championships for Men. In 1887, six years after the men's nationals were first held, the first U.S. Women's National Singles Championship was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. The winner was 17-year-old Philadelphian Ellen Hansell. This was followed by the introduction of the U.S. Women's National Doubles Championship in 1899 and the U.S. Mixed Doubles Championship in 1892. The women's tournament used a challenge system from 1888 through 1918, except in 1917. Between 1890 and 1906, sectional tournaments were held in the east and the west of the country to determine the best two doubles teams, which competed in a play-off for the right to compete against the defending champions in the challenge round.[8]

In early 1915, a group of about 100 tennis players signed a petition in favor of moving the tournament. They argued that most tennis clubs, players, and fans were located in the New York City area and that it would therefore be beneficial for the development of the sport to host the national championship there.[9] This view was opposed by another group of players that included eight former national singles champions.[10][11] This contentious issue was brought to a vote at the annual USNLTA meeting on February 5, 1915, with 128 votes in favor of and 119 against relocation.[12][13][14]

From 1921 through 1923, the tournament was played at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia.[15] It returned to the West Side Tennis Club in 1924 following completion of the 14,000-seat Forest Hills Stadium.[8] Although many already regarded it as a major championship, the International Lawn Tennis Federation officially designated it as one of the world's major tournaments commencing in 1924.

At the 1922 U.S. National Championships, the draw seeded players for the first time to prevent the leading players from playing each other in the early rounds.[16][17]

The open era has begun in 1968 when professional tennis players were allowed to compete for the first time at the Grand Slam tournament held at the West Side Tennis Club. The previous U.S. National Championships had been limited to amateur players. Except for mixed doubles, all events at the 1968 national tournament were open to professionals. That year, 96 men and 63 women entered, and prize money totaled US$100,000. In 1970, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to use a tiebreaker to decide a set that reached a 6–6 score in games. From 1970 through 1974, the US Open used a best-of-nine-point sudden-death tiebreaker before moving to the International Tennis Federation's (ITF) best-of-twelve points system.[6] In 1973, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to award equal prize money to men and women, with that year's singles champions, John Newcombe and Margaret Court, receiving US$25,000 each.[6] Beginning in 1975, the tournament was played on clay courts instead of grass, and floodlights allowed matches to be played at night.

In 1978, the tournament moved from the West Side Tennis Club to the larger and newly constructed USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens, three miles to the north. The tournament's court surface also switched from clay to hard. Jimmy Connors is the only individual to have won US Open singles titles on three surfaces (grass, clay, and hard), while Chris Evert is the only woman to win US Open singles titles on two surfaces (clay and hard).[6]

The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that has been played every year since its inception.[18]

During the 2006 US Open, the complex was renamed to "USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center" in honor of Billie Jean King, a four-time US Open singles champion and women's tennis pioneer.[19]

From 1984 through 2015, the US Open deviated from traditional scheduling practices for tennis tournaments with a concept that came to be known as "Super Saturday": the men's and women's finals were played on the final Saturday and Sunday of the tournament respectively, and their respective semifinals were held one day prior. The Women's final was originally held in between the two men's semi-final matches; in 2001, the Women's final was moved to the evening so it could be played on primetime television, citing a major growth in popularity for women's tennis among viewers.[20] This scheduling pattern helped to encourage television viewership, but proved divisive among players because it only gave them less than a day's rest between their semi-finals and championship match.[21][22]

For five consecutive tournaments between 2007 through 2012, the men's final was postponed to Monday due to weather. In 2013 and 2014, the USTA intentionally scheduled the men's final on a Monday—a move praised for allowing the men's players an extra day's rest following the semifinals, but drew the ire of the ATP for further deviating from the structure of the other Grand Slams.[23][21] In 2015, the Super Saturday concept was dropped, and the US Open returned to a format similar to the other Grand Slams, with men's and women's finals on Saturday and Sunday. However, weather delays forced both sets of semifinals to be held on Friday that year.[24][22]


The grounds of the US Open have 22 outdoor courts (plus 12 practice courts just outside the East Gate) consisting of four "show courts" (Arthur Ashe Stadium, Louis Armstrong Stadium, the Grandstand, and Court 17), 13 field courts, and 5 practice courts.

The main court is the 23,771-seat[25] Arthur Ashe Stadium, which opened in 1997. A US$180 million[26] retractable roof was added in 2016.[27] The stadium is named after Arthur Ashe, the African-American who won the men's singles title at the inaugural US Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, and Wimbledon in 1975 and who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985. The next largest court is the 14,061-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, which cost US$200 million to build and opened in 2018.[26] The 6,400-seat lower tier of this stadium is separately ticketed, reserved seating while the 7,661-seat upper tier is general admission and not separately ticketed.[26][28] The third largest court is the 8,125-seat Grandstand in the southwest corner of the grounds, which opened in 2016.[27] Court 17 in the southeast corner of the grounds is the fourth largest stadium. It opened with temporary seating in 2011 and received its permanent seating the following year.[29] It has a seating capacity of 2,800, all of which is general admission and not separately ticketed.[29] It is nicknamed "The Pit", partly because the playing surface is sunk 8 feet into the ground.[29][30] The total seating capacity for practice courts P1-P5 is 672 and for competition Courts 4–16 is 12,656, itemized as follows:[31]

  • Courts 11 & 12: 1,704 each
  • Court 7: 1,494
  • Court 5: 1,148
  • Courts 10 & 13: 1,104 each
  • Court 4: 1,066
  • Court 6: 1,032
  • Court 9: 624
  • Courts 14 & 15: 502 each
  • Courts 8 & 16: 336 each

All the courts used by the US Open are illuminated, allowing matches and television coverage to extend into primetime. In 2001, the women's singles final was intentionally scheduled for primetime for the first time. CBS Sports president Sean McManus cited significant public interest in star players Serena Williams and Venus Williams and the good ratings performance of the 1999 women's singles final, which was pushed into primetime by rain delays.[20]

Since 1978, the US Open has been played on a hard court surface called Pro DecoTurf. It is a multi-layer cushioned surface and classified by the International Tennis Federation as medium-fast.[32] Each August before the start of the tournament, the courts are resurfaced.[33]

Since 2005, all US Open and US Open Series tennis courts have been painted a shade of blue (trademarked as "U.S. Open Blue") inside the lines to make it easier for players, spectators, and television viewers to see the ball.[34] The area outside the lines is still painted "U.S. Open Green".[34]

In 2006, the US Open introduced instant replay reviews of line calls, using the Hawk-Eye computer system. It was the first Grand Slam tournament to use the system. According to many experts, the system was implemented because of a controversial quarterfinal match at the 2004 US Open between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati, where important line calls went against Williams.[35] Instant replay was available only on the Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium courts through the 2008 tournament. In 2009, it became available on the Grandstand court. Starting in 2018, all competition courts are outfitted with Hawk-Eye and all matches in the main draws (Men's and Women's Singles and Doubles) follow the same procedure – each player is allowed 3 incorrect challenges per set, with one more being allowed in a tiebreak.

In 2007, JP Morgan Chase renewed its sponsorship of the US Open and, as part of the arrangement, the replay system was renamed to "Chase Review" on in-stadium video and television.[36]

Recent attendance

Sources: US Open,[37] Record Attendance 2018,[38] City University of New York (CUNY)[39][40]

Prize money

The total prize money for the 2018 US Open was US$53 million. Of that amount, US$50,565,840 is for player base compensation and is divided as follows:[41]

per team

The men's and women's singles prize money (US$40,912,000) accounts for 80.9 percent of total player base compensation, while men's and women's doubles (US$6,140,840), men's and women's singles qualifying (US$3,008,000), and mixed doubles (US$505,000) account for 12.1 percent, 5.9 percent, and 1.0 percent, respectively.[41] The prize money for the wheelchair draw amounts to a total of US$350,000. The singles winners of the men and women draws receive US$31,200 and the winner of the quad singles receives US$23,400.[42]

The United States Tennis Association in 2012 agreed to increase the US Open prize money to US$50,400,000 by 2017. As a result, the prize money for the 2013 tournament was US$33.6 million, a record US$8.1 million increase from 2012. The champions of the 2013 US Open Series also had the opportunity to add US$2.6 million in bonus prize money, potentially bringing the total 2013 US Open purse to more than US$36 million.[43] In 2014, the prize money was US$38.3 million.[44] In 2015, the prize money was raised to US$42.3 million.[45]

Ranking points

Ranking points for the men (ATP) and women (WTA) have varied at the US Open through the years but presently singles players receive the following points:



Media coverage

The US Open's website allows viewing of live streaming video, but unlike other Grand Slam tournaments, does not allow watching video on demand. The site also offers live radio coverage.

ESPN[48] took full control of televising the event in 2015. When taking over, ESPN ended 47 years of coverage produced and aired by CBS.[49] ESPN uses ESPN and ESPN2 for broadcasts, while putting outer court coverage on ESPN+.

  • Albania: Eurosport[48]
  • Algeria: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Andorra: Eurosport[48]
  • Angola: SuperSport[48]
  • Armenia: Eurosport[48]
  • Ascension Island: ESPN International[48]
  • Australia: ESPN International[48]
  • Austria: Eurosport and Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF)[48]
  • Azerbaijan: Eurosport[48]
  • Bahrain: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Bangladesh: Star India[48]
  • Belarus: Eurosport[48] i
  • Belgium: Eurosport[48]
  • Benin: SuperSport[48]
  • Bhutan: Star India[48]
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina: Eurosport[48]
  • Botswana: SuperSport[48]
  • Brazil: ESPN and SporTV[48][50]
  • Brunei: Fox Sports Asia has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51][48]
  • Bulgaria: Eurosport[48]
  • Burkina Faso: SuperSport[48]
  • Burundi: SuperSport[48]
  • Cambodia: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Cameroon: SuperSport[48]
  • Canada: The Sports Network (TSN) and Réseau des sports (RDS)[48]
  • Cape Verde: SuperSport[48]
  • Central African Republic: SuperSport[48]
  • Central America: ESPN International[48]
  • Chad: beIN Media Group and SuperSport[48]
  • China, People's Republic of: Fox Sports Asia (English-language only),[48]China Central Television (CCTV), and Tencent[48]
  • Comoros: SuperSport[48]
  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the: SuperSport[48]
  • Congo, Republic of the: SuperSport[48]
  • Croatia: Eurosport[48]
  • Cyprus: Eurosport[48]
  • Czech Republic: Eurosport[48]
  • Denmark: Eurosport[48]
  • Djibouti: beIN Media Group and SuperSport[48]
  • East Timor: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Egypt: beIN Media Group and Eurosport]l[48]
  • Equatorial Guinea: SuperSport[48]
  • Eritrea: SuperSport[48]
  • Estonia: Eurosport[48]
  • Eswatini: SuperSport[48]
  • Ethiopia: SuperSport[48]
  • Finland: Eurosport[48]
  • France: Eurosport[48]
  • Gabon: SuperSport[48]
  • Gambia, The: SuperSport[48]
  • Georgia: Eurosport[48]
  • Germany: Eurosport[48]
  • Ghana: SuperSport[48]
  • Greece: Eurosport[48]
  • Guinea: SuperSport[48]
  • Guinea-Bissau: SuperSport[48]
  • Hong Kong: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Hungary: Eurosport[48]
  • Iceland: Eurosport[48]
  • India: Star India[48]
  • Indonesia: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Iran: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Iraq: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Ireland: From 2018 through 2022, Amazon Prime Video[48] is broadcasting the US Open.[52]
  • Israel: Eurosport[48]
  • Italy: Eurosport[48]
  • Ivory Coast: SuperSport[48]
  • Japan: Wowow[48]
  • Jordan: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Kazakhstan: Eurosport[48]
  • Kenya: SuperSport[48]
  • Kosovo: Eurosport[48]
  • Kuwait: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Kyrgyzstan: Eurosport[48]
  • Laos: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Latvia: Eurosport[48]
  • Lebanon: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Lesotho: SuperSport[48]
  • Liberia: SuperSport[48]
  • Libya: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Liechtenstein: Eurosport[48]
  • Lithuania: Eurosport[48]
  • Luxembourg: Eurosport[48]
  • Macau: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Macedonia: Eurosport[48]
  • Madagascar: SuperSport[48]
  • Malawi: SuperSport[48]
  • Malaysia: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Maldives: Star India[48]
  • Mali: SuperSport[48]
  • Malta: Eurosport[48]
  • Mauritania: beIN Media Group and SuperSport[48]
  • Mauritius: SuperSport[48]
  • Mayotte: SuperSport[48]
  • Mexico: ESPN International[48]
  • Moldova: Eurosport[48]
  • Monaco: Eurosport[48]
  • Mongolia: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Montenegro: Eurosport[48]
  • Morocco: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Mozambique: SuperSport[48]
  • Myanmar: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Namibia: SuperSport[48]
  • Nepal: Star India[48]
  • Netherlands: Eurosport[48]
  • New Zealand: ESPN International[48]
  • Niger: SuperSport[48]
  • Nigeria: SuperSport[48]
  • Norway: Eurosport[48]
  • Oman: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Pacific islands: ESPN International[48]
  • Pakistan: Star India[48]
  • Palestinian Territories: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Papua New Guinea: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Philippines: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Poland: Eurosport[48]
  • Portugal: Eurosport[48]
  • Puerto Rico: ESPN[48]
  • Qatar: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Reunion: SuperSport[48]
  • Romania: Eurosport[48]
  • Russia: Eurosport[48]
  • Rwanda: SuperSport[48]
  • San Marino: Eurosport[48]
  • São Tomé and Príncipe: SuperSport[48]
  • Saudi Arabia: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Senegal: SuperSport[48]
  • Serbia: Eurosport[48]
  • Seychelles: SuperSport[48]
  • Sierra Leone: SuperSport[48]
  • Singapore: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Slovakia: Eurosport[48]
  • Slovenia: Eurosport[48]
  • Socotra: SuperSport[48]
  • Somalia: beIN Media Group and SuperSport[48]
  • South Africa: SuperSport[48]
  • South America: ESPN International[48]
  • South Korea: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • South Sudan: SuperSport[48]
  • Spain: Eurosport[48]
  • Sri Lanka: Star India[48]
  • St. Helena and Asencion: SuperSport[48]
  • Sudan: beIN Media Group and SuperSport[48]
  • Sweden: Eurosport[48]
  • Switzerland: Eurosport and Swiss Broadcasting Corporation[48]
  • Syria: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Taiwan: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Tajikistan: Eurosport[48]
  • Tanzania: SuperSport[48]
  • Thailand: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Togo: SuperSport[48]
  • Tunisia: beIN Media Group and Eurosport[48]
  • Turkey: Eurosport[48]
  • Turkmenistan: Eurosport[48]
  • Uganda: SuperSport[48]
  • Ukraine: Eurosport[48]
  • United Arab Emirates: beIN Media Group[48]
  • United Kingdom: From 2018 through 2022, Amazon Prime Video[48] is broadcasting the US Open.[52]
  • Uzbekistan: Eurosport[48]
  • Vatican State: Eurosport[48]
  • Vietnam: Fox Sports Asia[48] has the exclusive right to broadcast the event from 2017 through 2021.[51]
  • Yemen: beIN Media Group[48]
  • Zambia: SuperSport[48]
  • Zimbabwe: SuperSport[48]

See also

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