50 for 50: Serena Williams

50 for 50: Serena Williams

Serena Williams captured her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 1999, defeating Martina Hingis in the final and becoming the first African-American woman to win the championship since Althea Gibson in 1958. Since then, she has captured 23 overall majors, including six at the US Open, a feat equaled only by Chris Evert.

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50 for 50: Roger Federer

50 for 50: Roger Federer

A ponytailed, youthful Roger Federer lifted the men’s singles trophy for the first time in 2004, beginning an unmatched run of dominance and kindling a love affair between player, city and fans.

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Follow along as we countdown the 50 Greatest Moments

Follow along as we countdown the 50 Greatest Moments

This year, as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, we’re counting down the 50 most memorable moments in the history of America’s Grand Slam. 

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50 for 50: Chris Evert

50 for 50: Chris Evert

So dominant was Chris Evert at the US Open that, in 19 career appearances, she never once lost before the quarterfinals. Evert reached nine singles finals, and her six US Open trophies are an Open era-best equaled only by all-time Slam queen Serena Williams.

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Join the #USOpen50 Celebration

Join the #USOpen50 Celebration

Share Your Favorite On/Off Court Moments. Be part of the conversation using hashtag #USOpen50 and tag @USOpen

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50 for 50: Jimmy Connors

50 for 50: Jimmy Connors

The fiery Jimmy Connors had long been providing fans with their money’s worth at the US Open, where the Belleville Basher won five men’s singles titles, an Open-era record equaled only by the likes of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.

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50 for 50: Pete Sampras

50 for 50: Pete Sampras

Pete Sampras came of age at the US Open. He won his first Grand Slam title at the Open as a teen, and he closed out of his career in Flushing Meadows, as well, surging from the 17th seed to claim a fifth championship in what would prove to be his final professional match.

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50 for 50: Steffi Graf

50 for 50: Steffi Graf

Any way you look at it, the simple fact is that Steffi Graf is one of the greatest women’s players of all time. 

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50 for 50: Martina Navratilova

50 for 50: Martina Navratilova

Martina Navratilova holds the Open-era record for most total US Open titles, with 16. She won four in singles, nine in women’s doubles and three in mixed doubles.

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50 for 50: John McEnroe

50 for 50: John McEnroe

A four-time men's single champion, Queens-raised John McEnroe's US Open career started, quite literally, with a bang.

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50 for 50: Kim Clijsters

50 for 50: Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters was beloved by US Open fans long before she won her first women’s singles title in 2005 and maybe never more so than when she made perhaps the most endearing return to tennis in the sport’s history. That came in 2009, when the Belgian came out of retirement and, with precious few matches under belt, claimed the crown.

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50 for 50: Rafael Nadal

50 for 50: Rafael Nadal

At his dogged best, Rafael Nadal is perhaps the most physically intense competitor ever to play the game. Defeating an in-form Nadal in a best-of-five US Open match is akin to running the New York marathon – while sprinting through the entire city course.

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50 for 50: Ivan Lendl

50 for 50: Ivan Lendl

For eight consecutive years, from 1982-89, if you saw a US Open men's final, you were watching Ivan Lendl.

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50 for 50: Billie Jean King

50 for 50: Billie Jean King

How to measure the impact of a champion? Naming the US Open grounds in her honor is a pretty good place to start. In terms of influence, no player in the Open era can rival Billie Jean King. In terms of game, very few can match her class.

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50 for 50: Margaret Smith Court

50 for 50: Margaret Smith Court

Serena Williams and her 23 Grand Slam titles may be tops in the Open era, but when it comes to the all-time honor rolls, there’s another woman who still rules the roost: Australia’s Margaret Court.

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50 for 50: Andre Agassi

50 for 50: Andre Agassi

If the Open wasn’t Andre Agassi's most successful Grand Slam event, it sure was his favorite. When the future Hall of Famer announced his retirement at the age of 36, he chose to do so in New York, where he had made his major debut more than two decades earlier.

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50 for 50: Venus Williams

50 for 50: Venus Williams

A 17-year-old Venus Williams came of age at the US Open. The 1997 tournament marked her first foray to New York, and she promptly made herself at home. So began a love affair between a player and a city that continues to this day.

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50 for 50: Novak Djokovic

50 for 50: Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s game was tailor made for Flushing’s concrete floors. No one in the modern era has turned defense into offense – and into an art form – quite like the Serb, who has counterpunched his way to two US Open championships and an impressive seven finals.

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50 for 50: Tracy Austin

50 for 50: Tracy Austin

There have been other young champions, precocious players who have made their marks on both the US Open and the tennis world at large. But even among those ranks, Tracy Austin was special.

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50 for 50: Stefan Edberg

50 for 50: Stefan Edberg

For the first eight years of his career, Flushing Meadows bedeviled Stefan Edberg. It seemed that the noise, the night matches, the Big Apple hustle and bustle had gotten the better of the soft-spoken, stylish Swede. That was until 1991, when Edberg broke through to the US Open champions’ circle in convincing fashion.

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50 for 50: Monica Seles

50 for 50: Monica Seles

Monica Seles proved unstoppable at the US Open, going back-to-back in Flushing Meadows with trophy-clinching victories over Martina Navratilova and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario.

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50 for 50: Patrick Rafter

50 for 50: Patrick Rafter

Patrick Rafter defeated Greg Rusedski in the 1987 men's final to become the first Australian man to win the US Open since John Newcombe in 1973. He returned to defend his title the following year, this time defeating fellow Aussie Mark Philippoussis and, in doing so, won over the New York crowd once and for all.

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50 for 50: Justine Henin

50 for 50: Justine Henin

Blessed with flawless footwork and a lethal one-handed backhand, Justine Henin captured two US Open crowns during her storied career, winning titles in New York in 2003 and 2007.

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50 for 50: Andy Murray

50 for 50: Andy Murray

It was commonly referred to as the Big Four, but Andy Murray was missing one critical piece of hardware that his peers – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic – had collected in abundance: a Grand Slam singles trophy. That all changed when the 2012 US Open rolled around.

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50 for 50: Maria Sharapova

50 for 50: Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova embraced the US Open trophy and then thrust it proudly into the air. The trophy responded by coming undone, the lid toppling off and nearly falling to the concrete floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium. It was Sharapova's only misstep at the 2006 US Open.

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50 for 50: 1989 champion Boris Becker

50 for 50: 1989 champion Boris Becker

Played out in 90-degree heat, starting in sunshine and then finishing under the stadium lights, the 1989 men's final was a bruising battle of iron-willed competitors, as Boris Becker defeated Ivan Lendl to become the first German man to win the US Open.

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50 for 50: Ken Rosewall

50 for 50: Ken Rosewall

In an age of giants of the game – Rod Laver, Lew Hoad, Pancho Gonzales, John Newcombe, Arthur Ashe – Ken Rosewall stood as tall as any of them during a Hall of Fame career that ran an astonishing three decades through the amateur, professional and Open eras.

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50 for 50: Hana Mandlikova

50 for 50: Hana Mandlikova

Hana Mandlikova beat the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world – Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova – in successive matches to capture the 1985 US Open women's singles crown.

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50 for 50: Stan Wawrinka

50 for 50: Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka cemented his standing as one of the world’s best on the rough-and-tumble hard courts so well-suited to his gritty game, putting a capstone on a tremendous late-in-tennis-life surge by winning the 2016 US Open title.

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50 for 50: Svetlana Kuznetsova

50 for 50: Svetlana Kuznetsova

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Elena Dementieva in an all-Russian women's final at the 2004 US Open to capture her first Grand Slam title.

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50 for 50: Guillermo Vilas

50 for 50: Guillermo Vilas

On Sunday, Sept. 11, 1977, Guillermo Vilas helped make tennis history and tennis lore, as the No. 4 seed was matched up against defending champion and top-seeded Jimmy Connors in a duel of two of the finest champions of clay-court tennis.

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50 for 50: Martina Hingis

50 for 50: Martina Hingis

Across three decades, Martina Hingis captured 25 major championships, a career Grand Slam in both doubles and mixed doubles, and one US Open singles crown.

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50 for 50: Mats Wilander

50 for 50: Mats Wilander

A seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Mats Wilander saved perhaps his best major performance for last at the 1988 US Open.

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50 for 50: Andy Roddick

50 for 50: Andy Roddick

The 2003 US Open began with the official retirement of five-time men's champion Pete Sampras, arguably the greatest American in men’s tennis history. Enter Andy Roddick. The successor to Sampras as the next great American man flexed his muscles – and his serve and forehand – over the ensuing two weeks, keeping the US Open men’s trophy on U.S. soil.

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50 for 50: Gabriela Sabatini

50 for 50: Gabriela Sabatini

Argentine Gabriela Sabatini traded picture-perfect one-handed backhands with familiar foe Steffi Graf in the 1990 US Open final, avenging a final defeat at the hands of the German two years earlier on the same court.

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50 for 50: Marin Cilic

50 for 50: Marin Cilic

That he might one day win a Grand Slam title had long been predicted for Marin Cilic. That he might win the 2014 US Open was a long shot, an unexpected result that came at the end of a befuddling fortnight. But this was no fluke.

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50 for 50: Lindsay Davenport

50 for 50: Lindsay Davenport

With her spotless 1998 run, Lindsay Davenport went from promising player to Grand Slam champion. Davenport defeated Nathalie Tauziat, Amanda Coetzer and Venus Williams before dismissing Martina Hingis in the final, becoming the first American-born US Open women’s singles champion since Chris Evert in 1982.

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50 for 50: John Newcombe

50 for 50: John Newcombe

He was the last in a long line of legendary Australian greats who had dominated the sport for decades. He sported a mod moustache, had movie-star good looks, a gregarious, outgoing personality and a smashing tennis game. He was John Newcombe – or just “Newk” to his legions of fans.

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50 for 50: Juan Martin del Potro

50 for 50: Juan Martin del Potro

During the 2009 Flushing fortnight, New York favorite Juan Martin del Potro dispatched four current or future Grand Slam champions en route to the crown, including Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the final.

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50 for 50: Angelique Kerber

50 for 50: Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber had a dream run at the 2016 US Open, cruising through her first six matches and then taking out Karolina Pliskova in a thrilling three-set final to capture the women's singles title and, with it, the No. 1 world ranking.

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50 for 50: Stan Smith

50 for 50: Stan Smith

Calm, cool and collected and barely registering any emotion on the court, American Stan Smith reached the pinnacle of tennis in 1971, when he won his first major singles title at the US Open.

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50 for 50: Sloane Stephens

50 for 50: Sloane Stephens

There are comeback stories. Then there’s Sloane Stephens’ comeback story. Fewer than five months before Stephens won the 2017 US Open women’s single title, she was unable walk. In September, she was jumping for joy.

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50 for 50: Marat Safin

50 for 50: Marat Safin

Marat Safin was a titanic talent, with a game as mercurial as his personality and the kind of easy power that branded him a generational star. Throughout his 12-year professional career, he sometimes struggled to sync mind and body, but when he did, the outcome was often astounding. One such result came in Flushing Meadows in 2000.

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50 for 50: Flavia Pennetta

50 for 50: Flavia Pennetta

The 2015 women's final was an all-Italian affair, with longtime friends Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci vying for the trophy.

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50 for 50: Ilie Nastase

50 for 50: Ilie Nastase

The 1972 men's final was a study in contrast between hometown favorite Arthur Ashe and the mercurial, flamboyant, often controversial Romanian Ilie Nastase. Nastase appeared to be on the verge of losing the match but battled back to win in five thrilling sets.

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50 for 50: Arantxa Sánchez Vicario

50 for 50: Arantxa Sánchez Vicario

Arantxa Sánchez Vicario reached two finals at the US Open during her career and defeated Steffi Graf in a thrilling 1994 final to become the first woman from Spain to win the women’s singles title in the 108-year history of the tournament.

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50 for 50: Manuel Orantes

50 for 50: Manuel Orantes

In the first year the US Open was played on clay in 1975, one of the game’s greatest grinders—Spain’s Manuel Orantes—finished first at Forest Hills, playing his way to the title with a game that showcased equal amounts of grit, guts and gallantry and included one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the event.

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50 for 50: Rod Laver

50 for 50: Rod Laver

Rod Laver made tennis history at the US Open in 1969 when he won his 11th and final major singles title to complete an unprecedented second calendar-year Grand Slam.

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50 for 50: Samantha Stosur

50 for 50: Samantha Stosur

Serena Williams entered the 2001 women's singles final as the overwhelming favorite, but Samantha Stosur was too good on this day, beating the American at her own game with a barrage of booming forehands.

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50 for 50: Lleyton Hewitt

50 for 50: Lleyton Hewitt

In 2001, Lleyton Hewitt was an up-and-coming talent – a 20-year-old Aussie, known for his intense play, mental toughness and screams of “C’mon” that so many of the world’s top pros voice on court today.

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50 for 50: Virginia Wade

50 for 50: Virginia Wade

Virginia Wade etched her name into the record books when, in 1968, she won the first-ever US Open women’s singles title in the Open era.

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50 for 50: Arthur Ashe

50 for 50: Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe captured the first US Open men’s championship in 1968, becoming the first African-American man to win a major title. But his on-court achievements were but a slice of his rich and varied life.

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