It was a time of revolution; an era that turned this country upside down and inside out. The late 1960s were a time in which the U.S. was torn by war, tested by political and social strife and taken over (and sometimes under) by the irresistible force of change that slammed hard against its population at every turn. As the guy with the harmonica so brilliantly noted, the times were a-changing.
It was against that backdrop of unrest and revolution that a most revolutionary thing happened in tennis—the sport threw open its doors to professional players, ushering in a new era of “Open” tennis. In the late summer of 1968, the U.S. National Championships segued somewhat uneasily into the US Open—and nothing has been the same since.
That first year set the tone for an event—and a sport—that would come to be known for both evolution and revolution. A new era was dawning. Change was coming. It would be slow—painfully slow in some instances—but it would come, nonetheless. An elite sport was becoming much more egalitarian; a tennis championship was becoming much more of an event. The players who contested this sport were becoming celebrities, bigger-than-life personalities whose respective personas positively surged off the playing field. As most had expected, open tennis turned out to be a good idea. And the US Open turned out to be a great place to showcase it.
And so throughout this year, in which we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, we’ll be recalling the 50 champions who have finished at Forest Hills and Flushing Meadows, as well as reviewing the 50 most memorable moments in tournament history; moments that have helped to shape this event and forge it into one of sport’s most entertaining and electrifying showcases.
Stay with USOpen.org all year as we count down our champions and our choices for the most memorable and magical moments across half a century of the US Open. The fun starts this Friday, so stick with us and find out why we love 50!