50 Moments: No. 1 - Super Saturday

50 Moments: No. 1 - Super Saturday

Saturday, Sept. 8, 1984, at the US Open soon became known as the greatest day in tennis history, as every match went the distance and kept the spectators on the edge of their seats.

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50 Moments: No. 2 - US Open moves to Flushing Meadows

50 Moments: No. 2 - US Open moves to Flushing Meadows

Moving the US Open from the West Side Tennis Club to Queens, N.Y., proved a 'worthy piece of tennis democracy.'

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Follow Along as we countdown the 50 Greatest Champions

Follow Along as we countdown the 50 Greatest Champions

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the US Open, we look back at the 50 champions who have left an indelible mark on this inimitable event.

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50 Moments: No. 3 - Arthur Ashe wins first US Open

50 Moments: No. 3 - Arthur Ashe wins first US Open

In 1968, Arthur Ashe, an amateur who happened to be a lieutenant in the United States Army, blazed through that summer like no other player.

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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 Moments: No. 4 - US Open offers equal prize money

50 Moments: No. 4 - US Open offers equal prize money

To put what the USTA did into larger perspective, consider this: equal prize money for the women did not happen at the Australian Open until 2001, and the monetary scales were not level at the French Open and Wimbledon until six years later. 

 

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50 Moments: No. 5 - Graf wins Grand Slam

50 Moments: No. 5 - Graf wins Grand Slam

Steffi Graf made it abundantly clear as 1988 unfolded that her all-consuming drive and determination would take her just about anywhere she wanted to go, including achieving the calendar-year Grand Slam.

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50 Moments: No. 6 - First primetime women’s final

50 Moments: No. 6 - First primetime women’s final

Throughout a large percentage of the Open era, the women’s final was contested in a timeframe that was not always to their advantage. But it all changed in 2001, when for the first time, the women were showcased on Saturday evening in prime time, and Venus and Serena Williams collided in the final.

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50 Moments: No. 7 - McEnroe’s 1980 championship run

50 Moments: No. 7 - McEnroe’s 1980 championship run

No one in the men’s game since tennis went Open in 1968 had defended a US Open title until John McEnroe topped Bjorn Borg in a five-set, four-plus-hour thriller in the 1980 final.

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50 Moments: No. 8 - Connors' 1991 semifinal run

50 Moments: No. 8 - Connors' 1991 semifinal run

The US Open was Jimmy Connors' favorite playground, the atmosphere he relished, the stage he most enjoyed performing on. In so many ways, Connors and the US Open were made for each other.

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50 Moments: No. 9 - Laver wins second Grand Slam

50 Moments: No. 9 - Laver wins second Grand Slam

Rod Laver’s feat of winning the calendar-year Grand Slam in 1969 with so many formidable rivals surrounding him was a singularly significant accomplishment.

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50 Moments: No. 10 - Evert reaches semis in debut

50 Moments: No. 10 - Evert reaches semis in debut

A 16-year-old Chris Evert was clearly a champion in the making, an emerging star with a scintillating future and an individual who would change the face of tennis in a multitude of ways. Yet no one, not even Evert herself, could have envisioned the impact she would have on the 1971 US Open.

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50 Moments: No. 11 - Serena reaches winner's circle

50 Moments: No. 11 - Serena reaches winner's circle

After a 17-year-old Venus Williams surged into the final of the 1997 US Open before losing to Martina Hingis, the prevailing view was that she would win a Grand Slam tournament within two years. But her younger sister Serena had other notions, becoming the first Williams sister to win the US Open women's title in 1999.

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50 Moments: No. 12 - Arthur Ashe Stadium makes debut

50 Moments: No. 12 - Arthur Ashe Stadium makes debut

It was an all-star cast that assembled on Opening Night of the 1997 US Open for one of the most celebratory evenings the tournament has ever had. 

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50 Moments: No. 13 - Sampras closes career in storybook fashion

50 Moments: No. 13 - Sampras closes career in storybook fashion

When he came to the US Open in 2002, Pete Sampras was carrying some heavy baggage. Mired in a 33-tournament drought, he had not won a championship anywhere in the world since ruling at Wimbledon two years earlier.

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50 Moments: No. 14 - Federer wins record five straight titles

50 Moments: No. 14 - Federer wins record five straight titles

From 2004-07, Roger Federer was at the height of his considerable powers and on the edge of invincibility. But his dominance ended in 2008, and, heading into New York, he was as down on himself as he had been in a long time. That all changed at the Open, where the Swiss maestro rediscovered the art of his game and won his record fifth straight title.

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50 Moments: No. 15 - Lights go on at Forest Hills

50 Moments: No. 15 - Lights go on at Forest Hills

Night tennis was included on the menu of options at the US Open for the first time in 1975, and at long last, those with jobs could finish up their work late in the afternoon, hop on the subway and spend their evening watching top-flight tennis in the cooler evening air.

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50 Moments: No. 16 - Billie Jean’s highest honor

50 Moments: No. 16 - Billie Jean’s highest honor

On opening night of the 2006 US Open, amidst a festive atmosphere with a New York crowd soaking in every moment, Billie Jean King was honored in Arthur Ashe Stadium with the renaming of the US Open facility to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

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50 Moments: No. 17 - Vinci beats Serena in huge upset

50 Moments: No. 17 - Vinci beats Serena in huge upset

Serena Williams headed into the 2015 US Open with immense historical weight on her shoulders. She was three down, one to go in her bid for a sweep of the four majors.

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50 Moments: No. 18 - The tiebreak makes its debut

50 Moments: No. 18 - The tiebreak makes its debut

At the US Open in 1970, the tiebreak was put into operation for the first time at a Grand Slam championship. The tiebreak could be a player’s nightmare, but it was a fan’s best friend.

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50 Moments: No. 19 - Sampras, Agassi in classic confrontation

50 Moments: No. 19 - Sampras, Agassi in classic confrontation

No Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi clash in their entire 1989-2002 series at the US Open surpassed their 2001 quarterfinal under the lights on a still and idyllic evening in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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50 Moments: No. 20 - Roof makes its debut

50 Moments: No. 20 - Roof makes its debut

As unsettled weather kept disrupting the tournament schedule and dampening the spirits of the spectators, a plan was put in place to erect a roof over Ashe Stadium to modernize the facility and protect both the fans and the players. That roof was unveiled in 2016, much to the delight of longtime US Open followers.

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50 Moments: No. 21 - The Evert-Navratilova rivalry begins

50 Moments: No. 21 - The Evert-Navratilova rivalry begins

As the 1975 US Open unfolded, Chris Evert was the overwhelming favorite to win the tournament. The top seed was feared by just about all of the players in the field because defeating her on clay was such a tall task. One of the few players who could test Evert, however, was a left-handed dynamo named Martina Navratilova.

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50 Moments: No. 22 - Connors' remarkable feat

50 Moments: No. 22 - Connors' remarkable feat

By winning the first US Open on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows in 1978, Jimmy Connors established himself as the only player – male or female – in US Open history to prevail on three different surfaces.

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50 Moments: No. 23 - Lendl reaches eight straight finals

50 Moments: No. 23 - Lendl reaches eight straight finals

For sheer consistency, for enduring greatness, Ivan Lendl’s run of reaching eight straight finals from 1982-89 is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in the history of the US Open.

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50 Moments: No. 24 - King wins final of the ages

50 Moments: No. 24 - King wins final of the ages

The stars seemed aligned when Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong collided in the 1974 US Open final at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills.

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50 Moments: No. 25 - Agassi plays his last US Open

50 Moments: No. 25 - Agassi plays his last US Open

At 36, with his body breaking down and his physical resources significantly diminished, Andre Agassi came to New York to conclude his career at his favorite tournament. He was saying goodbye to his followers.

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50 Moments: No. 26 - Court wins Grand Slam

50 Moments: No. 26 - Court wins Grand Slam

With three consecutive majors in her collection, Margaret Court came to New York for the US Open in full pursuit of the last piece in the puzzle.

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50 Moments: No. 27 - Serena wins record sixth title

50 Moments: No. 27 - Serena wins record sixth title

Serena Williams climbed the ladder of history again, securing a sixth title at the US Open in 2014 to tie Chris Evert for the Open era record and capturing her 18th major to equal both Evert and Martina Navratilova on the all-time list of female Grand Slam tournament singles victors.

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50 Moments: No. 28 - Sampras edges Corretja

50 Moments: No. 28 - Sampras edges Corretja

In the quarterfinals of the 1996 US Open, Pete Sampras collided with the wily Spaniard, Alex Corretja. The widespread notion among most authorities was that Sampras would overpower his adversary. Not so fast.

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50 Moments: No. 29 - Austin wins title at 16

50 Moments: No. 29 - Austin wins title at 16

In 1979, a 16-year-old Tracy Austin beat Chris Evert at her own game to establish herself as the youngest ever player to win the women’s title at the US Open.

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50 Moments: No. 30 - Hawk-Eye makes its debut

50 Moments: No. 30 - Hawk-Eye makes its debut

The altercations between players and linesmen had been occurring forever. These disputes had been woven into the fabric of the game, and the controversy surrounding the line calls was both entertaining for the fans and aggravating for the competitors and those making the calls. That all changed in 2006, when the Hawk-Eye Instant Replay System was put into operation. 

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50 Moments: No. 31 - Evert bids farewell

50 Moments: No. 31 - Evert bids farewell

Chris Evert had celebrated her arrival as a great player when she was a 16-year-old at the US Open in 1971. Eighteen years and a record six titles later, she announced her last tournament would be in New York.

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50 Moments: No. 32 - Del Potro stuns tennis world

50 Moments: No. 32 - Del Potro stuns tennis world

Argentina’s towering and charismatic Juan Martin del Potro introduced himself to the US Open in 2008 with a scintillating run to the quarterfinals, bowing out against Andy Murray in a hotly contested, late-afternoon encounter. Back he came to New York in 2009, and now he was even more of a threat to claim the title.

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50 Moments: No. 33 - Sampras wins at 19

50 Moments: No. 33 - Sampras wins at 19

He came out of California, displaying gifts few players possessed, playing the game with ineffable grace and immense power, serving his way effortlessly through arduous afternoons against obstinate opponents. And yet Pete Sampras was still a work in progress when he arrived for the 1990 US Open.

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50 Moments: No. 34 - Blue courts make debut

50 Moments: No. 34 - Blue courts make debut

The 2005 US Open will be remembered by many for the sparkling title runs made by Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters, two of the sports most revered individuals. But there was a development that year that transcended the players and the results – the color of the hard courts was changed from green to blue.

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50 Moments: No. 35 - Clijsters turns motherhood into triumph

50 Moments: No. 35 - Clijsters turns motherhood into triumph

The ever-gracious Kim Clijsters left the game of tennis in 2007 and started a family. She returned to the tour in the summer of 2009 and played only two tournaments leading up to the US Open. But she found her game swiftly in New York, moving through the draw to become the first unseeded women's champion in the Open era. 

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50 Moments: No. 36 - Unseeded Agassi wins 1994 title

50 Moments: No. 36 - Unseeded Agassi wins 1994 title

Not since Fred Stolle in 1966 had an unseeded man or woman come through to win the U.S. Championships/US Open. But, then again, Andre Agassi was not a typical unseeded competitor. One of a kind, Agassi turned that tournament upside down, enjoying every moment of a memorable journey.

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50 Moments: No. 37 - Evert wins first of six titles

50 Moments: No. 37 - Evert wins first of six titles

After falling in the semifinals four years in a row, Chris Evert was determined to win her country’s Grand Slam tournament. The 20-year-old found herself in a tense skirmish with Evonne Goolagong in the 1975, where she eventually prevailed, winning the first of six singles titles in New York.

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50 Moments: No. 38 - Triple crown for Navratilova

50 Moments: No. 38 - Triple crown for Navratilova

Martina Navratilova pulled off a “triple” at the last major of 1987, sweeping the US Open singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles and affirming to her legion of admirers that there was no more complete player in tennis.

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 50 Moments: No. 39 - Federer claims first crown

50 Moments: No. 39 - Federer claims first crown

Roger Federer was arguably never better in a title-round contest than he was against Lleyton Hewitt in 2004, when he won the first of an Open-era record five straight singles titles in New York.

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50 Moments: No. 40 - Orantes' spectacular comeback

50 Moments: No. 40 - Orantes' spectacular comeback

Many tennis enthusiasts remember Manuel Orantes' masterpiece of clay-court wizardry against Jimmy Connors in the 1975 final, but his semifinal win over Guillermo Vilas was the defining moment of his career and one of the greatest comebacks ever recorded at a major tennis tournament.

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50 Moments: No. 41 - Edberg’s marathon title run

50 Moments: No. 41 - Edberg’s marathon title run

Stefan Edberg entered the 1992 US Open as the defending champion. A record 22 hours and 22 minutes of play later, he left with his second New York title and the world No. 1 ranking in hand, managing a trio of fifth-set escapes on the way.

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50 Moments: No. 42 - Bryans win 100th career title

50 Moments: No. 42 - Bryans win 100th career title

Wimbledon may be known for strawberries and cream, but the 2014 US Open put the cherry on top of the Bryan brothers’ legendary career. In claiming their record-breaking fifth New York doubles crown, the Bryans hit the century mark for career doubles titles.

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50 Moments: No. 43 - Nadal completes career Grand Slam

50 Moments: No. 43 - Nadal completes career Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2010 men's final to claim his first US Open title and complete a career Grand Slam—the youngest man in the Open era to capture all four majors.

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50 Moments: No. 44 - Henin's '03 epic

50 Moments: No. 44 - Henin's '03 epic

On fewer than five hours of sleep and coming off what was, at the time, the longest women’s match in US Open history, Justin Henin-Hardenne turned tiredness into triumph to claim a memorable 2003 US Open title.

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50 Moments: No. 45 - Venus' first Open

50 Moments: No. 45 - Venus' first Open

Unseeded and relatively unknown Venus Williams entered her first US Open, making it to the final and sealing her fate as a tennis legend.

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50 Moments: No. 46 - Becker battles back

50 Moments: No. 46 - Becker battles back

What figured as a routine second-round outing against journeyman Derrick Rostagno proved to be anything but for 1989 champion Boris Becker.

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50 Moments: No. 47 - Stephens storms to title

50 Moments: No. 47 - Stephens storms to title

Less than a year after foot surgery and playing in only her fifth tournament since her return to the tour, Sloane Stephens staged one of the most improbable runs to a US Open women's singles title in the tournament's history.

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50 Moments: No. 48 - Seles' return

50 Moments: No. 48 - Seles' return

Monica Seles made her emotional return to Grand Slam tennis at the 1995 US Open, playing in her first major tournament in almost three years after being stabbed in the back at a tournament in Germany in 1993.

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50 Moments: No. 49 - Djokovic's triumph

50 Moments: No. 49 - Djokovic's triumph

They say that history has a way of repeating itself. And for Novak Djokovic, that seems to be true.

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50 Moments: No. 50 - Oudin's run

50 Moments: No. 50 - Oudin's run

There was no shortage of storylines at the 2009 US Open, but few tales in the Big Apple seemed to sweep American tennis fans off their feet quite like that of Melanie Oudin.

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