At the conclusion of the 2018 US Open, we catalogued the best performances, moments and more from the fortnight that was. Now, as the year comes to a close, we are giving tennis fans a chance to vote for their favorites in six categories: quotes, photos, fan moments, breakout players, upsets and matches. This vote was conducted via Twitter over a 24-hour period; final results can be viewed at the bottom of this page.
Here, we look back at four of our favorite images from the tournament, pared down from tens of thousands of frames captured by USOpen.org photographers over three memorable weeks in New York City. Watching hundreds of unique, world-class players from a seemingly unlimited number of angles and vantage points, photographers are able to highlight and preserve individual moments in time that will last forever. From emotion and joy to artistry and tranquility, here's a quartet of photos that stood out from the crowd in the Big Apple.
Amid the hustle and bustle of a primetime matchup between two of the greatest champions of our era, Jennifer Pottheiser captured a moment of solitude despite being surrounded by 23,000 screaming fans. Serena Williams, rarely as the lower-ranked player in New York City, walked onto the court first for her match with sister Venus. That afforded Pottheiser an extra few seconds to make this photo of the 23-time champion finalizing her preparations. Shooting using only the available light as to not disturb Serena with an on-camera flash, Pottheiser used a 14-24mm lens — and a unique on-court position in front of the umpire’s chair reserved for USOpen.org photographers — to create this memorable frame of the GOAT in the spotlight.
At its core, photography is all about light. So when Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios stepped onto the court for their third-round match just as the afternoon shadows were being cast across Arthur Ashe Stadium, USOpen.org photographer Garrett Ellwood knew he only had a couple minutes to get the shot he was looking for. The way the sun moves over Ashe, especially with the new roof in place, there’s a tiny window of time when the players are running back and forth through the light and shadow on the baseline, typically lasting only one change of ends. Here, the profile of Federer is almost entirely illuminated, while the racquet, ball and background are in the shade. Between the near-black back wall and the white of Federer's shirt, the image jumps out in a way that is rarely seen on this court.
Darren Carroll captured the moment when Jamie Murray and Bethanie Mattek-Sands won the US Open mixed doubles title from a spot along the sideline in the photo dugout. The image is a perfect example of what the US Open is about: emotion, energy and excitement. Photographers have a range of choices on match point. Do you shoot loose to get a sense of the scale and environment, or do you go tight to capture the emotion up close? It's not always possible to get two players in the same frame if you shoot tight, especially not full body shots when the players aren't immediately side by side. But the interaction between Murray and Mattek-Sands is what makes this shot special — that and the fact that you can see how high Mattek-Sands is jumping. This image is a perfect example of what happens when planning and skill come together.
The shot of the 2018 US Open produced arguably the best reaction of the tournament. Nick Kyrgios appeared to experience equal parts disbelief, awe and confusion when Roger Federer wrapped an unlikely winner around the net post in their third-round match inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Garrett Ellwood captured this moment from the photographers' pit behind the baseline with a 200-400mm zoom lens. From his position directly across the net from Kyrgios, he was able to make a front-on image of the Australian as he stared back toward Federer. Ashe is the only court at the US Open with photographer spots behind the baseline at court level, giving shooters a chance to show the players' perspective. Kyrgios later said Federer's shot, on the run and from outside the doubles alley, was the best he had ever seen.
The results are in, and the winner is...