New York is home to one of the four major championships in tennis: the United States Open. The tournament has undergone numerous changes since its inception in 1888. It has changed dates, venues, and surfaces multiple times. For decades, however, the US Open has been played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows as the final major tournament of the season.
The US Open has pioneered a number of developments that have had significant impact on the sport. For example, the championship became the first major to utilize a tiebreaker in 1970. And in 1973, it became the first major to offer equal prize money for men and women. That said, the tournament's prestige is based largely on a long history of the sport's top players competing and winning at the event.
Before the Open Era, Richard Sears, William Larned, and Bill Tildenthe dominated the men's tournament. In 1968, American Arthur Ashe became the first US Open champion of the Open Era, though as an amateur, he was not entitled to the prize money. Ashe returned the following year as a professional and defended his title; the main court at the Billie Jean King facility has carried his name since 1997.
Shortly after the start of the Open Era, several American men established themselves as repeat champions at the US Open. Jimmy Connors appeared in five consecutive US Open finals between 1974 and 1978, winning three, then added two more in 1982 and 1983. New York native John McEnroe added three straight US Open titles between Connors's 1978 and 1982 victories.
Of course, legends from around the world enjoyed success in New York. While Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi picked up where Connors and McEnroe left off, multiple US Open titles went to Stefan Edberg, Ivan Lendl, and Patrick Rafter. More recently, Roger Federer won five consecutive US Open titles from 2004 to 2008. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have also won multiple titles over the past decade.
Virginia Wade was the first women's champion at the US Open in the Open Era, defeating Billie Jean King 6-4, 6-2 in the final. Margaret Court proceeded to win five of the next seven events. King managed three titles before American Chris Evert began dominating the event. Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Monica Seles all enjoyed multiple wins at the event prior to the arrival of the Williams sisters, Venus and Serena.
Serena won the US Open title in 1999 and 2002, with older sister Venus winning in 2000 and 2001. The 2001 and 2002 finals featured both sisters. Serena ultimately added four more victories, including three straight beginning in 2012. No player has repeated as champion at the US Open on the women's tour since Serena's 2014 win, though she was a finalist in 2018 and 2019. Sloane Stephens defeated Madison Keys in an all-American 2017 final, while the 2021 final between Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez was the first major final of the Open Era to feature two unseeded players. Raducanu became the first qualifier, male or female, to win a major championship.
Michael Keefe Gorman, a broker with Merrill Lynch, serves a geographically diverse group of individual investors, businesses, and non-profits from his office in Ithaca, New York.
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