Place: New York, New York
Tournament Type: Grand Slam
Surface: Hard Court
About the U.S. Open
Venue: USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Ranking Points: Winner — 2,000 Runner-Up — 1,200
Prize Money: $1.9m to the winner, $38,251,760 total
Duration: August 31, 2015 – September 13, 2015
If Wimbledon is the Grand Slam with prestige, then the US Open is the Grand Slam with attitude. The famously rambunctious crowds, colorful champions, and, for many years, hometown favorites to cheer on, made the U.S. Open a tournament with a reputation for being a free-wheeling, and tension filled.
Since its inception in 1881, the U.S. Open has been held, in succession on grass courts (1881-1974), clay courts, (1975-1977), and hard courts (1978-present). Originally contested in Rhode Island, after a player petition in 1915 the tournament was moved to New York to increase visibility and attendance. The move worked, and ever since, the Open has grown in popularity.
The change to hard courts in 1978 coincided with the opening of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It also came at a time when U.S. Tennis was experiencing an extended golden age. Players like Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe with big personalities and broad appeal helped the tournament gain in notoriety. The next generation of American talent headed by Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi, who played many memorable matches at the Open, added their names to the list of notable champions. The Williams sisters have continued the tradition of American talent at the U.S Open winning eight singles titles and two doubles titles between them.
The Open is also notable as the only grand slam that employs the use of tie-breakers in ever set, even a deciding 3rd or 5th set. At the other three majors, a deciding set is played until one player wins by two games. The Open was also the first Grand Slam to employ a tie-breaker to decide a set, doing so during the 1970 championships.
Winning the U.S. Open poses a unique challenge to players. While the French might be the greatest athletic test, and Wimbledon the toughest technical task, Boris Becker commented: “This is the most difficult to win. You have the crowd here, you have the heat here, you have the noise here.” The excitable crowd, the heat of New York in the late summer, and the general atmosphere of mayhem borne of a United States tennis tradition replete with fiery players makes the U.S. Open a special tournament.