It’s August, and that means it’s almost time for the fourth, and final, Grand Slam event of the year. The US Open, not to be confused with the similarly named golf tourney, is played in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the New York City borough of Queens.
Hong Kong tennis fans could be forgiven if they aren’t as up to date with this event as the others – the American time zone can lead to some infuriatingly inconvenient match times.
With that said, the US Open has been home to some great tennis moments. American tennis stars, from Pete Sampras and Serena Williams to Chris Evert and naturalized citizen Martina Navratilova. Take a look at this semi-final match between Billie Jean King and Chris Evert back in 71:
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvddpq8oQSw[/embedyt] Although Chris Evert would define American tennis for years to come…it wasn’t quite her turn – Billie Jean King won that year…and the following year…and 1974 too. Evert finally won in 75 and went on to dominate the Open for a decade, adding 3 wins in the late 70’s and 2 in the early 80’s, setting a record of 6 victories. (It has since been tied by – who else – Serena Williams)
1881: The competition begins life at Newport Casino in Rhode Island as an event only for members of the US National Lawn Tennis Association. The eventual winner, Richard Sears, would go on to win 7 consecutive titles.
1887: Women are (finally) included. Ellen Hansel becomes the first female winner.
1915: The tournament moved from Rhode Island to the West Side Tennis Club in Queens, New York to be closer to tennis fans in the NYC area. The tournament spent 3 years in Philadelphia in the early 1920’s, but then returned to New York for good.
1968: The Open Era. Previously, tournaments were reserved for amateurs, similar to the Olympics. As prize purses expanded, this led to a lot of problems and corruption. Tennis adapted and allowed professionals to compete. The tournament changed its name from the US Championships to the US Open. Arthur Ashe and Virginia Wade become the first singles champions.
1973: Thanks to the tireless work of some remarkable women, including the legendary Billie Jean King, the 1973 tournament was the first Grand Slam event to pay the female winners the same as the men. With King, Chris Evert, Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova competing in the mid 70’s, it’s easy to see why they decided to pay up!
1978: The US Open moves to a bigger, better site without leaving Queens. The National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, Corona Park become the US Open’s new home.
1997: The stadium within the USTA National Tennis Center is re-named Arthur Ashe Stadium, after the 1968 champ.
2006: One stadium isn’t enough for Billie Jean, as the entire facility is renamed The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Unlike Ashe, who died in 1993, Billie Jean King was on hand to witness the honour herself. Check it out here:
[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC5L5YUZQfY[/embedyt] 2018: Will Serena Williams win her 7th US Open and break her tie with Chris Evert for the most all time? Tune in later this month to find out.
With a great ladies tennis program and more, you don’t have to be ranked by the ATP or WTA to play tennis in Hong Kong this August – you can check out ATA’s current programs here: http://www.atatennisaces.com/adult-programme/
See you on the court!