When Arthur Ashe Stadium was opened in 1997 as the new centerpiece of America’s Grand Slam, it immediately became one of the game’s grandest stages, brilliantly reflecting the mega-watt energy and electricity of the tournament and its host city. Its enormous size befits its enormous import: This is a singular stage built specifically for the sport’s most illustrious talents.
Indeed, in the 20 years since Ashe took its first bow, all of the modern game’s greatest have showcased their talents on the rectangular slab of cement – first green, now blue – that serves as its firm floorboards. There’s a roof on it now, but not even that can contain the enormous personalities who’ve strutted Ashe’s stage. Those who headline here, headline the sport.
And in those 20 years, no one has headlined here more often than six-time US Open champion Serena Williams. Her 95 career appearances in Arthur Ashe Stadium are the most of any player – male or female – in its two decades of operation. Only Venus Williams, with 80 matches in Ashe, and Roger Federer, with 74, come remotely close to Serena’s remarkable record.
All of her US Open titles were won here – two women’s doubles and a mixed title to go along with the aforementioned six singles. All of her fashion statements were made here. Williams has won 84 of her 95 matches in Ashe – meaning she has more wins in Ashe than any other competitor has matches played. Throughout her career, Williams always has figured as a favorite in Flushing, and her indelible mark on this event was crafted inside Ashe’s inimitable walls.
Though she will miss the 2017 US Open awaiting the birth of her first child, it would be foolish to bet against her return to the US Open in 2018. After all, the biggest stars are invariably drawn to the greatest stages.