U.S. Open is the fourth and final event of the
Grand Slam in tennis. It is held annually in August/September and the main
tournament consists of five championships: men's and women's singles, men's
and women's doubles and mixed doubles, with additional tournaments for junior
and senior players. Since 1978, the tournament has been held at the USTA
National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York.
The U.S. Open grew from an exclusive entertainment event
for the high society to a $16 million prize money championship for over 600
male and female professional players.
The U.S. Open originates from two separate tournaments: the
men's tournament and the women's tournament. The event was first held in
August 1881 and staged at the Newport Casino, Newport, Rhode Island (men's
singles only). The championships were known as the U.S. National Singles
Championship for men. Only clubs that were members of the United States National
Lawn Tennis Association were permitted to enter.
In 1900, U.S. National Men's Doubles Championship was held
for the first time. Tournaments were held in the east and the west of the
country in order to determine the best two teams (sectional winners). These
would then compete in a play-off - the winner would play the defending champions
in the challenge round.
Six years after the men's nationals were held, the first
official U.S. Women's National Singles Championship was held at the Philadelphia
Cricket Club in 1887, followed by the U.S. Women's National Doubles Championship
in 1889. The first Mixed Doubles Championship was held alongside the Women's
Singles and Doubles.
The Open Era began in 1968 when all five events were merged
into the newly named U.S. Open at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills,
Queens, New York. Notably, the 1968 combined tournament was opened to professionals;
neither predecessor tournament allowed professionals to compete. That year
96 men and 63 women entered the event with prize money amounting to $100,000.
In 1978, the event moved from Forest Hills to its current home at Flushing
The main court is located at the 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe
Stadium, named after Arthur Ashe,
the great African American tennis player who won the inaugural U.S. Open
in 1968. The surfaces of all its courts
are hard, so the U.S. Open always provides tennis at a very high speed.