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US Open 2007 l © Stan Wiechers

A Brief History Of The US Open: Tennis

Picture of Dana deLaski
Dana deLaski
Updated: 5 August 2016
The US Open is a major tennis tournament that’s been played since 1978. Each year, the tournament is held in the same place – at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York City. It’s the fourth tournament in the ‘Grand Slam’ – the other three being the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon.

Each year the tournament begins on the last Monday in August and runs through the first two weeks in September. The tournament consists of five events – men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, mixed doubles, and tournaments for junior, senior, and wheelchair players.

Though the tournament has been what it is today since 1978, it was founded in 1881 in Newport, Rhode Island. In its first years, only men were allowed to enter the tournament, and women gained access around 1887. In 1915 there was pressure for the tournament to move to New York, as many tennis clubs were located in New York, and after a vote it was decided that the tournament would move.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the tournament introduced instant replays, and this was only following controversial calls in the 2004 match between Serena Williams and Jennifer Capriati. Now, it’s the player who must challenge a call, and only then will it be replayed and reviewed.

In 1973, the US Open became the first of the Grand Slam tournaments to award equal prize money for men and women singles champions. That year, the male and female champions each took home $25,000. Last year they each took home $3.3 million.

US Open l © Edwin Martinez, © Steven Pisano

Clockwise from Left: Yoshihito Nishioka at 2015 US Open Tennis l Kim Clijsters at US Open Tennis l Sorana Cirstea at 2015 US Open Tennis

The US Open has made a five-year agreement to increase prize money to $50,000,000 by 2017. This year, 2016, the prize money will be $46,300,000 divided among the winners. In 2015, Novak Djokovic won the men’s singles, with Roger Federer as the runner-up. Flavia Pennetta won the women’s singles in 2015 – it was her first major title – and Roberta Vinci was the runner-up.

Coverage for the tournament can be found on ESPN and the Tennis Channel. The tournament has become a major television event since all the courts became illuminated, because it can now be televised during prime time. Further, the inner courts are blue to allow viewers to see the yellow ball more easily. You can also watch live streaming of the tournament on the US Open website.