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The US Open is an international tennis tournament organized every year since 1978. One of the features that makes it unique is that the games are being played on acrylic hard courts instead of natural grass or dirt ones. Formerly known as the United States Open Tennis Championships, it was designed to sort out the top elite from the best tennis players of the world and organize matches between them as a means of establishing the best of the best. The US Open completes the annual Grand Slam group of tournaments, after the Australian Open, the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships.
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This will be the 137th edition and it’s just around the corner, as it begins on the last Monday of August and lasts for 2 weeks. By force of an unchangeable tradition, home to the US Open championships is the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York City. When the tournament was running its early years, only men were allowed to play. Women did not get permission to play until 1887 and another century had to go by until, in 1973, the awards for men and women singles champions started to be equal at $25,000. In 2016, the prize to be distributed to the winners reached a total of $46,300,000. For this year, the US Open is expected to raise some $50,000,000 to be distributed as prize money.
There are five main categories: men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. Additional side tournaments exist for senior, junior, and wheelchair players. This tournament is unique among the Grand Slams as it applies tiebreakers in the victory deciding sets. In comparison, the rest of the tennis tournaments continue the games in the final set until a player has won two more than their opponent. The main court at the U.S. Open (and the National Tennis Center’s largest venue) is the 22,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, followed in capacity by the 10,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, the 6,000-seat Grandstand Stadium and a number of smaller side courts. All courts are amply lit and therefore conducive to night play, while the inner courts are painted blue to facilitate the tracking of the ball. Like most major championships tied to professional sports, the U.S. Open is as much a tourist attraction as a sporting event, meaning the existence of special musical performances and other family activities throughout the two-week period.
The favorites for the title are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray for the men. Serena Williams being out of the competitions this year, opens the field for other contenders. Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Simona Halep lead the favorites for the ladies.
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