Year by Year
The 2017 US Open had its own unique cadence from the very start, and even before. One famous pregnancy and some assorted injuries fleeced the draw of past champions Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka, with finalists Victoria Azarenka and Kei Nishikori also unable to make the journey.
More big names quickly followed them through the turnstiles. No. 2 seed Simona Halep and No. 7 Johanna Konta were vanquished in the first round, and No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 6 Angelique Kerber and No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova all lost in the second. And that was nothing compared to the bottom half of the men’s draw, which extinguished its full complement of Top 10 seeds and any former Grand Slam finalist – and all but one past major semifinalist – by the end of Round 3.
With those early exits came new stars – Naomi Osaka, Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov, to name a few – the return to glory from injured fan favorites Juan Martin del Potro and Petra Kvitova, and a semifinal run by the beloved grand dame of the women’s game, Venus Williams. Amid all the madness, there was wonder, the kind that only the toughest two weeks in tennis can deliver.And in the end, there were champions, and two very deserving ones at that.
Unseeded Sloane Stephens emerged from an all-American semifinal round – the last four in the women’s draw all hailed from the U.S. for the first time at a US Open since 1981 – as a most appropriate champion for an upset-addled draw. Just six months prior, she was confined to a wheelchair, rehabbing a foot injury that required surgery and kept her off the tour for 11 months. But at the end, she was the one who hoisted the women’s singles trophy, a Grand Slam victor in her first major final, a player who survived four three-set matches – and two third-set tiebreaks – to prevail over Madison Keys in the first all-American women's singles since the Williams sisters faced off in 2002.
Rafael Nadal needed no such drama. The top seed claimed the championship in emphatic fashion, defeating surprise finalist Kevin Anderson in a one-sided final to win his third men’s singles title and further solidify his place as one of the Open’s all-time champions. There was, yet again, no match against Roger Federer – the Swiss was upset in the quarterfinals by del Potro, one round shy of facing Nadal for the first time in New York – but that made no matter to the Spaniard. He took on all comers, upstarts and former champs alike, and dismissed them all, joining Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, John McEnroe and Pete Sampras as the only men to win three or more men's singles titles in the Open era.
But while Stephens and Nadal claimed the headlines, they were hardly the only champions. Martina Hingis, in fact, won twice, in women's doubles with Chan Yung-Jan and in mixed doubles with Jamie Murray, while the men's doubles title went to first-time US Open champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau. In addition, winners were crowned in juniors, wheelchair and collegiate, all earning their rightful place as US Open titlists.
In 2016, the US Open once again earned its reputation as the toughest two weeks in tennis. From its concrete surface to the weather that alternates between summer and fall, a Flushing fortnight is not for the faint of heart. So it seemed only fitting that two of the game’s most tenacious competitors, Angelique Kerber and Stan Wawrinka, emerged as its champions.
While both contenders, neither was a favorite coming in. Kerber, though the No. 2 seed, played second fiddle to Serena Williams, who was coming off a Wimbledon title and was chasing her record 23rd Grand Slam title at the 2016 US Open. And Wawrinka, who came to New York having not beaten a Top 10 player all year, was at best the third choice behind heavy favorites Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
But at tournament’s end, there was the German hoisting the women’s trophy for the first time as the rising world No. 1, having fended off an ascendant Karolina Pliskova – who topped Venus Williams in the fourth round and Serena in the semifinals – in a stirring three-set final. And in the men’s final, the Swiss wore down Djokovic in a gutty display of heavy-metal tennis, blasting away at the best defense in the game until it cracked, then crumbled, completing a run through the draw that featured victories over 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori and fan favorite Juan Martin del Potro, who advanced to the quarterfinals in his first New York showing in three years due to a series of wrist injuries.
The two were joined in the 2016 winner’s circle by a trio of first-time team champions. In women’s doubles, Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the U.S. and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic won their first US Open title and third Grand Slam title as a tandem. In men’s doubles, Jamie Murray became the first British man to win a US Open men’s doubles title since Roger Taylor in 1972 and Bruno Soares became the first Brazilian man ever to accomplish the feat. And in the mixed, Germany’s Laura Siegemund teamed with Croatia’s Mate Pavic to win the first Grand Slam crown for either player.
For this fortnight, however, the champions had to share the spotlight with the stage. The USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center unveiled a series of upgrades, highlighted by a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, a new Grandstand in the southwest corner of the grounds and widened walkways throughout the campus. The transformation of the US Open grounds will be completed in 2018, with the unveiling of a new Louis Armstrong Stadium.
The 2015 US Open is one of the most compelling in the tournament’s history. The dominant storyline is Serena Williams’ pursuit of the Grand Slam until, suddenly, shockingly, it isn’t. Replacing Serena and No. 2 seed Simona Halep in the women’s final is a pair of unheralded 30-something Italians, unseeded Roberta Vinci (who upended Serena in the semifinals in an all-time upset) and No. 26 Flavia Pennetta, who meet in the most unlikely Grand Slam final of the Open era – a title match won by Pennetta, who promptly announces her retirement during her post-match interview. The men’s draw is far more orderly, with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic meeting No. 2 Roger Federer in the 42nd installment of their unrivaled rivalry. As he had in the Wimbledon final earlier in the year, Djokovic prevails again to capture his second men’s singles trophy. As it turns out, the 2015 Flushing fortnight has room for champions of all stripes. Martina Hingis, in fact, earns two titles, in women’s doubles with Sania Mirza and with Leander Paes in mixed doubles, adding a pair of trophies to the women’s singles championship she won in 1997 and the women’s doubles title captured in 1998. That 17-year gap seems like nothing to the French, however. For the first time in the 134-year history of the men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles competitions at the US Open/U.S. Championships, a tandem from France takes home a trophy, with Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut winning the men’s doubles title. And it all happens to the delight of another stellar crowd, with attendance for the 2015 US Open coming in at 691,280 to set a new record for highest average attendance per session. (There were 24 sessions in 2015, compared to 26 in 2014.)
The 2014 US Open provides a series of surprises on the way to the women’s singles final and a surprising men’s singles final, delivering two very different champions. In the women’s draw, only one of the top eight seeds advances to the quarterfinals – the first time that’s happened at the US Open in the Open era – but that one seed is the No. 1 seed, Serena Williams, who defeats No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki for her third consecutive and sixth overall women’s singles title; it is also the 18th Grand Slam singles title of Williams’ career. The six victories tie Williams with Chris Evert for the most in the Open era and the 18 crowns match Williams with Evert and Martina Navratilova for second in the Open era, behind only Steffi Graf (22). The men’s draw proceeds far more orderly – that is, until the semifinals, where No. 10 seed Kei Nishikori stuns No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 14 Marin Cilic shocks No. 2 Roger Federer. That sets up the first US Open men’s singles final without either Djokovic or Federer in 11 years, with Cilic prevailing over Nishikori in a battle of first-time Grand Slam finalists to become the lowest-seeded men’s singles champion since No. 17 Pete Sampras in 2002. History is also made in men’s doubles, where Bob and Mike Bryan team to win their fifth US Open crown, which sets a new record for the Open era and matches the tournament record set by James Dwight and Richard Sears in the 1880s. The women’s doubles, on the other hand, produces a pair of first-time winners in Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, while Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares prevail in mixed doubles. Overall attendance for the 2014 edition passes 700,000 for the seventh time in eight years, registering at 713,642.
The 2013 US Open was one for the ages – and one for the aged. Three of the four women’s semifinalists – and five of eight quarterfinalists – were 30 or over, and the average age of the four men’s semifinalists was 27, with none younger than 26. Moreover, Flavia Pennetta made her first Grand Slam semifinal at 31, and Stanislas Wawrinka did the same on the men’s side at age 28. Aptly enough, it was the nearly 32-year-old Serena Williams who lifted the women’s trophy. The world No. 1 defeated Victoria Azarenka in a hard-fought final for her fifth women’s singles championship, becoming the oldest in the Open era – and the oldest overall since 1950 (Margaret Osborne duPont) – to win the women’s crown. The men’s title tilt also was a battle of veterans, with Novak Djokovic (26) and Rafael Nadal (27) facing off for the third time in four years. And as was the custom at the 2013 Open, the older man won, with Nadal improving to 22-0 on hard courts for the year with his second US Open championship. Also with the victories, Williams and Nadal each took home a record payday of $3.6 million as the US Open and Emirates Airline US Open Series champions. The US Open year of the veteran extended to doubles as well, where 40-year-old Leander Paes won the men’s doubles title with 34-year-old Radek Stepanek, and 36-year-old Max Mirnyi teamed with relative youngster Andrea Hlavackova, 27, to claim the mixed championship. Hlavackova also won the women’s doubles title, with 28-year-old Lucie Hradecka. Another 30-something, American fan favorite James Blake, used Flushing Meadows as his chance to say goodbye to the sport, leaving to a standing ovation in Louis Armstrong Stadium. Indeed, the 2013 US Open is a hit with fans. Overall attendance surpasses 700,000 for the sixth time, with the final tally of 713,026 ranking fourth-highest in tournament history.
History was made at the 2012 US Open when Andy Murray hoisted the Champions Cup after grinding out a tough 7-6 (10), 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over defending US Open champion Novak Djokovic for his first career Grand Slam singles title. With the win he brought home a men's Grand Slam singles crown to Great Britain for the first time since 1936, when Fred Perry won the U.S. Championships in the pre-Open era. Murray had played in four Grand Slam singles finals before and was handed defeat in each one by the hands of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. But after hiring Ivan Lendl as his coach, who also won his first major title in his fifth final, and then pulverizing Federer in the 2013 London Olympics to win the gold medal, everyone felt Murray entered the 2013 US Open poised to take home his first Grand Slam win. With the crowd behind him every step of the way throughout the tournament, the Scot didn't disappoint. Meanwhile, on the women's side of the tournament, Serena Williams notched her 15th Grand Slam singles title with a dramatic win over world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka. Serena battled back from being down match point to the hard-hitting Belarusian to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5. Heading into the final against Azarenka, Serena had not dropped a set the entire tournament, proving the 30-year-old hasn't lost any of her power or desire. The men's doubles team of No. 2 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan returned to form at the 2013 US Open, defeating No. 5 seeds Leander Paes of India and Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 to clinch their their 12th Grand Slam doubles title and set the record for most Grand Slam men's doubles titles in the Open Era, breaking the record that they previously shared with Aussies Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. The Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci wrapped up their breakout year at the US Open with a 6-4, 6-2 win over the powerful Czech tandem of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka to take home their second Grand Slam women's doubles title of the year and the world No. 1 ranking. It was also a year of goodbyes as Andy Roddick, one of America's most beloved tennis players of all time and the 2003 US Open champion, announced his retirement and played his last match on Arthur Ashe Stadium when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the round of 16. He thanked the teary crowd for their support throughout the years to long standing ovation. Three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters had previously announced she would retire at the end of the 2013 US Open and in her final tournament played women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles, losing to Laura Robson in the second round in what would be her last career singles match. She left the court for the final time after a second round mixed doubles loss with Bob Bryan to eventual mixed doubles champions Ekaterina Makarova and Bruno Soares. In juniors, American Samantha Crawford won her first US Open girls' singles title and No. 2 Filip Peliwo of Canada won the boys' singles crown. In girls' doubles, Americans and No. 4 seeds Taylor Townsend and Gabrielle Andrews won the title and No. 8 seeds Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and Frederico Ferreira Silva of Portugal were the boys' doubles champions.
2011 will be remembered as the year Serbia’s Novak Djokovic changed the men’s tennis landscape to include a third iconic figure, joining 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer of Switzerland and Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who won his first career US Open crown in 2010 by defeating Djokovic in the final. Entering Flushing Meadows after already capturing the 2011 Australian Open and Wimbledon men’s singles titles, the top-seeded Djokovic defeated Federer in a five-set semifinal en route to another showdown with Nadal inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Serb avenged his 2010 final loss with a 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1 to take his first US Open title. On the year, Djokovic would win 70 ATP World Tour matches (including 21 wins over top 10 players), 10 tournaments including three Grand Slams and took home $12.8 million U.S. in calendar prize money, a single-season record. On the women’s side, ninth-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur shocked pundits and fans across the globe by defeating the heavily-favored Serena Williams of the United States in the women’s final 6-2, 6-3, to win her first major title, having never advanced past the quarterfinals in US Open women’s singles competition in seven prior attempts. With the victory, Stosur also became the first Aussie woman to win the US Open since ITF Hall-of-Famer Margaret Court accomplished the feat in 1973. Another ninth seed, the men’s doubles duo of Austria’s Jurgen Melzer and Germany’s Philipp Petzschner defeated Poland’s Mariusz Fyrtstenberg and Marcin Matkowski 6-2, 6-2 in the final to claim their second career major championship as a duo (2010 Wimbledon). For the women’s doubles competition, it was the American pair of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond each winning their second US Open titles but first together as a tandem, knocking off the 2010 defending champions, fellow American Vania King and Kazahkstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) in the final. Rising U.S. stars Melanie Oudin and Jack Sock took home mixed doubles trophies and the first Grand Slam titles of their budding careers in a final that saw a super tiebreaker in the third set, vanquishing the co-ed combination of Argentina’s Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 10-8. In Juniors, Britain’s Oliver Golding and Grace Min of the United States won the boys' and girls' titles, respectively. The 2011 US Open Men’s Wheelchair competition saw the dominance of Japan’s Shingo Kuneida continue, winning his fourth-straight Open dating back to 2007 in singles, while Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands bid farewell to Queens with a sixth consecutive women’s singles Wheelchair title. Dating back to 2005, Vergeer has never lost in US Open play in either singles or doubles, and is strongly considering retirement following the 2013 Paralympic Games in London.
It was love again at the 2010 US Open, where 712,976 impassioned tennis fans swarmed the grounds of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the two weeks of tournament play to see history in the making. Spain's Rafael Nadal finally broke through at the Grand Slam event that had presented him the largest challenge of his career, capturing the men's singles title over Serbia's Novak Djokovic in four sets, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. At age 24, the top-seeded Nadal became the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam in the Open Era. While it was a first US Open championship for Nadal, Kim Clijsters reigned once again in Queens after defeating Russia's Vera Zvonareva, 6-2, 6-1, in the women's singles final to make it back-to-back Open victories for the Belgian and the third of her career in New York. She joins the elite company of Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Venus Williams as women who have repeated as US Open champions in the Open Era. In doubles, Americans Bob and Mike Bryan capped a milestone 2010 summer, with a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) win over the tandem of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, extending their record for career ATP men's doubles titles to 65. Bob Bryan also achieved mixed doubles glory, teaming with Liezel Huber to defeat Qureshi and partner Kveta Peschke. In women’s doubles, American Vania King and her partner Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan picked up their second straight Grand Slam championship, as the 2010 Wimbledon winners outlasted Huber and Nadia Petrova in a tightly contested final, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4). In juniors, American wild card Jack Sock and top-ranked Russian Daria Gavrilova won the boys' and girls' titles, respectively, while preeminent wheelchair champion Esther Vergeer remained undefeated in Flushing Meadows, taking home her fifth US Open crown.
The 2009 US Open once again set an attendance record, this time hosting 721,059 tennis fanatics over the course of the two-week extravaganza. On the final day of the Open, the crowd bore witness to history as 20-year-old Juan Martin del Potro ended the five-year reign of Roger Federer, defeating the No. 1 ranked player of the world in a five-set thriller 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2 to capture the 2009 US Open men's singles crown and his first career Grand Slam title. Prior to his defeat, Federer had won 40 consecutive matches in Queens dating back to 2003 when another Argentinean - David Nalbandian - defeated him in the Round of 16. On the women's end, it was another unlikely winner as Belgium's Kim Clijsters came out of two-plus years of retirement to win it all, defeating Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 6-3 in the women's final. In doing so, Clijsters became the first ever female to win the event as a wild card entrant. Along the way, Clijsters defeated both Serena and Venus Williams and dropped just two sets for the entire tournament. Both singles finals were pushed back a day for a second straight year after heavy rains washed out play in the second week of the Open from the evening session on Thursday to late on Saturday night. Before and after the stormy weather, American duos shine as the Williams sisters claimed a women's doubles crown and upstarts Carly Gullickson and Travis Parrott triumphed over defending champs Cara Black and Leander Paes. Paes would lose one final but win another, teaming with Lukas Dlouhy to win men's doubles. Australian Bernard Tomic and Great Britain's Heather Watson also won junior boys' and girls' titles respectively.
The 2008 US Open opens with a celebration featuring a parade of champions to honor the 40th Anniversary of Open Tennis in New York, and closes with Roger Federer setting a tournament Open Era record by winning his fifth consecutive men's singles title, defeating Great Britain's Andy Murray, 6-2, 7-5, 6-2, in the final. Serena Williams also returns to the winner's circle, though after a longer absence. Nine years after her first title and six years since her second, Serena defeats sister Venus in the quarterfinals, 7-6, 7-6, and then Jelena Jankovic in the final, 6-4, 7-5, to claim the women's singles championship without dropping a set. The women's final is played on Sunday, and the men's final on Monday, after Tropical Storm Hanna washes out much of Saturday's play. The 2008 US Open is otherwise filled with clear skies, and attendance records fall for a second consecutive year, with more than 720,000 fans passing through the turnstiles. Overall, it is a particularly strong tournament for Americans, who contest seven of the nine finals (all but men's singles and boys' doubles), with Serena winning women's singles, Bob and Mike Bryan winning men's doubles, Liezel Huber winning women's doubles and CoCo Vandeweghe winning girls' singles.
The US Open begins with an Opening Night ceremony honoring the 50th anniversary of Althea Gibson's 1957 U.S. Nationals win-the first by an African-American-in a ceremony that precedes both Serena Williams' and Venus Williams' first round matches. Roger Federer defeats Novak Djokovic, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (2), 6-4 to win his fourth consecutive US Open title and earns the largest payout in tennis history - $2.4 million - for winning both the US Open and Olympus US Open Series titles. Justine Henin does not lose a set en route to her second US Open women's singles title, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-1, 6-3 in the women's final. It is only the fifth time that an American man or woman failed to reach either the men's or women's singles final since 1881. The tournament sets an all-time attendance record of 715,587, surpassing the 700,000 mark for the first time. The 61,083 fans in attendance on Saturday, Sept. 1, is a new daily gate record. Children 14-and-under from the New York metro area sing the national anthem before designated sessions-all 15 were selected at the inaugural US Open casting call held at Radio City Music Hall in June. The US Open Draw Ceremony is held at the Empire State Building for the first time.
The USTA renames the National Tennis Center for renowned champion Billie Jean King in a night-time ceremony that precedes Andre Agassi's first match of his 21st and final US Open. Federer becomes the first man in tennis history to win back-to-back Wimbledon and US Open titles in three straight years when he defeats Andy Roddick 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the men's singles final. It is Roddick's first US Open final since his championship in 2003 and is driven by a recent partnership with five-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors, who takes over as Roddick's coach in the months before the US Open. Maria Sharapova wins her first women's singles title with a 6-4, 6-4 decision over Henin-Hardenne. The tournament, however, belongs to Agassi and 49-year-old Martina Navratilova. Agassi, fighting through severe back pain, wins the match of the year in the second round, defeating Marcos Baghdatis 7-5 in the fifth set before bowing to German Benjamin Becker in the third round. Agassi gives a stirring final, on-court speech and is greeted by a standing ovation from the crowd and in the players' locker room afterward. Navratilova, meanwhile, wins the mixed doubles title with Bob Bryan in her final match. The total attendance of 23,736 for the renaming ceremony and Agassi's opening match sets a new record for a night match, and the 60,506 fans in attendance on Monday, Sept. 4 is also a record. The 2006 US Open also features the debut of instant replay on the stadium courts, with Mardy Fish being the first player to challenge a call in Grand Slam tournament history.
US Open blue tennis courts make their debut at the USTA National Tennis Center after serving as a unifying element of the 10 US Open Series tournaments leading up to the event. Kim Clijsters collects a $2.2 million paycheck, the largest prize in women's sports history, for winning both the US Open and US Open Series. Clijsters captures the first and only Grand Slam singles title of her career in her fifth appearance in the final of a major. The likable Belgian defeats two-time champion Venus Williams in the quarterfinals and No. 1 seed Maria Sharapova in the semifinals in three sets before taking care of Mary Pierce in the final, 6-3, 6-1. Federer successfully defends his US Open singles title by defeating 35-year-old Agassi in the men's singles final 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(1), 6-1. Federer becomes the first man in the Open Era and third overall to successfully defend the Wimbledon and US Open since titles in the same year, joining Don Budge (1937-38) and Bill Tilden (1920-21). Agassi won three straight five-set matches to reach the final, including an epic comeback from two sets down against fellow American James Blake in the quarterfinals. Agassi is the oldest player to compete for the men's singles title since 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 1974. Bob and Mike Bryan partner together to win their first US Open men's doubles title, avoiding the self-proclaimed "anti-slam" after having lost in the final of the three other Grand Slam tournaments earlier in the year. More than 659,000 fans attend the 2005 US Open, setting a tournament record.
Roger Federer of Switzerland completes one of the greatest Grand Slam tournament seasons in the history of the sport when he defeats Lleyton Hewitt, 6-0, 7-6(3), 6-0, to win his first US Open men's singles title and his third Grand Slam title of the 2004 season. Federer, the 2004 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, faces his toughest test of the tournament in the quarterfinals against Agassi, who extends Federer to five dramatic sets played over two days due to rain. Svetlana Kuznetsova becomes the first Russian woman to win the US Open when she defeats countrywoman Elena Dementieva, 6-3, 7-5, in the women's singles final. The women's final is played on the fourth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, and both Russian finalists pay tribute in pre-match and post-match activities. Kuznetsova enters stadium court for the final wearing an FDNY hat for the Fire Department of New York, while Elena Dementieva wears an NYPD hat to honor the New York Police Department. In post-match speeches, both players pay tribute to the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, as well as the Russian school massacre 11 days earlier in Beslan, Russia.
A passing of the torch occurs at the US Open, as the tournament begins with Sampras announcing his retirement from the sport in an emotional on-court ceremony during the opening night of the championships. American Andy Roddick, 21, closes the tournament by claiming the crown that Sampras took the year before, winning his first Grand Slam tournament title with a 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-3 victory over Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero in the men's singles final. With the win, Roddick becomes the first American man to win his first Grand Slam title since Agassi broke through at Wimbledon in 1992. Justine Henin-Hardenne becomes the first Belgian woman to win the US Open, defeating countrywoman Kim Clijsters in the women's singles final, 7-5, 6-1. In the semifinals, Henin-Hardenne and American Jennifer Capriati play an epic match, with Henin-Hardenne defeating Capriati, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4), in a match that concludes at 12:27 a.m. The Capriati-Henin-Hardenne match lasts just over three hours, with Capriati serving for the match in the second and third sets and being two points from winning the match on 11 separate occasions. Capriati and Henin-Hardenne both win 127 points in the match. Capriati, who reached the US Open round of 16 as a 14-year-old in 1990, would advance to the semifinals on four occasions (1991, 2001, 2003, 2004) but never the final.
Nearly one year after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that destroyed New York City's World Trade Center, the US Open honors the spirit and resiliency of New York and the U.S. with a special Opening Night ceremony that featured the Ground Zero "Heroes Flag" and an on-court tribute led by three New Yorkers: singer Tony Bennett, actress-singer Queen Latifah and actor Judd Hirsch. Various honor guards participate, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg reads a special proclamation. During the course of the event, the USTA honored New York's heroes with nightly tributes between matches. In the final match of his decorated career, 15th-seeded Sampras wins his fifth US Open singles title and his record 14th career Grand Slam title, defeating Agassi, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, in the men's singles final. In the second "prime-time" women's singles final, Serena Williams avenges her 2001 loss to older sister Venus, winning her second US Open singles title by a 6-4, 6-3 margin.
Capitalizing on the popularity of women's tennis, the US Open schedules its women's final in prime-time network television, the first Grand Slam event to do so. The move is a big hit, as the Williams sisters-Venus and Serena-become the first sisters to meet in a U.S. Nationals/US Open final. The match is the most watched show on television that night, with 22.7 million viewers watching Venus defeat Serena, 6-2, 6-4, to win her second consecutive women's singles crown. Sampras is again upended in the men's singles final, falling to Australian Lleyton Hewitt, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1. Meanwhile, big-screen TVs measuring 35-feet by 19-feet are installed inside Arthur Ashe Stadium, giving fans seated in the promenade level a closer view of action throughout the tournament. Two years shy of the 30th anniversary of the US Open Junior Championships, a junior qualifying event is added to the tournament program, creating more opportunities for the next generation of stars to compete at the highest level.
A giant-screen monitor is mounted on the outside of Louis Armstrong Stadium, allowing fans in the Food Court to see the action in Arthur Ashe Stadium. This addition coincides with a big push to make the US Open a sports and entertainment spectacular, with stars from music, stage and screen performing throughout the event (performers included Grammy winners Tony Bennett and Patti LaBelle). Adding to the spectacle, U.S. President Bill Clinton attends the women's final, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to attend the tournament. President Clinton witnesses the first women's singles title for Venus Williams, who defeats Lindsay Davenport to succeed her younger sister as US Open champion. They are the first sisters to win US Open singles titles. In the men's event, 20-year-old Russian Marat Safin shocks a heavily favored Sampras with a dominating, straight-set victory, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3.
The rededication of Louis Armstrong Stadium, formerly the main stadium before the construction of Arthur Ashe, marks the completion of the $285 million USTA National Tennis Center expansion project, which spanned the terms of six USTA presidents. On the courts, U.S. tennis shines brightly, as Serena Williams wins the US Open women's singles title to become the first black woman to win the U.S. championship title since Althea Gibson in 1958, and Andre Agassi defeats fellow American Todd Martin in the first five-set men's final since 1988. In addition, the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, share the women's doubles title, and Texan Alex O'Brien shares the men's doubles championship with Sebastien Lareau of Canada.
Lindsay Davenport becomes the first U.S.-born woman to capture the US Open women's singles title in 16 years, defeating Hingis, 6-3, 7-5, in the final. Including the US Open, Davenport wins 20 of 21 matches during the U.S. summer hard-court season, and exactly one month after winning the US Open, she becomes the first U.S.-born woman in 13 years to be ranked No. 1 in the world. Rafter repeats as men's singles champion, defeating countryman Mark Philippoussis in four sets.
The US Open becomes a coming-out party, as Arthur Ashe Stadium is the centerpiece of a new USTA National Tennis Center, and the US Open crowns brand new men's and women's singles champions. By the score of 6-0, 6-4, Martina Hingis of Switzerland wins her first U.S. women's singles title at 16 years, 11 months and 8 days, the second-youngest woman to do so. In the youngest Grand Slam tournament final of the Open Era, she defeats 17-year-old American Venus Williams, the first US Open debut finalist since Pam Shriver in 1978, the first black finalist since Arthur Ashe in 1972, the first unseeded finalist since Darlene Hard in 1958 and the first black woman in a final since Althea Gibson defeated Hard that same year. In men's singles, Patrick Rafter wins his first Grand Slam tournament by defeating Greg Rusedski, 6-3, 6-2, 4-6, 7-5, in the final. Rafter is the first Australian man to win the US Open since John Newcombe in 1973, while Rusedski is the first British man to reach a U.S. championships final since Fred Perry in 1936.
With the No. 1 ranking at stake for the men's winner, top-seeded Sampras, three days after throwing up on court because of extreme dehydration and fatigue against Alex Corretja in the quarterfinals, subdues second-seeded Michael Chang in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(3), to win his fourth men's singles crown. It is Sampras' first Grand Slam tournament title since the death of his close friend and coach, Tim Gullickson, who would have celebrated his 45th birthday the day of the men's final. (Gullickson died of brain cancer on May 3, 1996.) Graf claims her 21st Grand Slam singles title by defeating Seles, 7-5, 6-4, in the women's singles final. Graf does not drop a set en route to her fifth and final women's singles championship.
Andre Agassi knocks off a record five seeded players en route to becoming the first unseeded player in the Open Era to win the US Open men's singles championship. Agassi, who entered the tournament ranked No. 20, blitzes No. 4 seeded Michael Stich of Germany in the final, 6-1, 7-6, 7-5. Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario rebounds after losing the first set in 22 minutes to win her first US Open women's singles crown by defeating Graf, 1-6, 7-6, 6-4. Sanchez-Vicario, the first Spanish woman to win the US Open title, also teams with Jana Novotna to win the women's doubles title.
The USTA celebrates the 25th anniversary of the first US Open and the 15th anniversary of the US Open's move from Forest Hills to the USTA National Tennis Center, as the second-seeded Sampras collects his second US Open title by defeating upstart Frenchman Cedric Pioline in the men's singles final, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3. Pioline is the first Frenchman since Henri Cochet in 1932 to reach the men's singles final. After a three-year absence, Steffi Graf returns to the winner's circle with her third US Open women's singles title, defeating Helena Sukova, 6-3, 6-3, in the final. A new world attendance record is set as 530,764 fans attend the 1993 US Open. Prize money eclipses $9 million. Grounds passes are sold for the first time.
Edberg wins three straight five-set matches to reach the singles final, where he dispatches 1990 US Open champion Pete Sampras in the first US Open final featuring the last two men's champions since 1947. En route to the final, Edberg comes back from fifth-set deficits against Richard Krajicek in the round of 16, Ivan Lendl in the quarterfinals and Michael Chang in the semifinals. Edberg's 6-7, 7-5, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Chang lasts five hours, 26 minutes in what is believed to be the longest match in US Open history. Seles also repeats as US Open champion but requires much less effort than Edberg. In comparison to the 28 sets Edberg plays to win the Open title, Seles needs only the minimum 14 sets (seven straight-set matches) to capture the singles title. In the final, Seles defeats Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, appearing in her first US Open singles final.
Wild-card entrant Jimmy Connors, ranked No. 174 and 39-years-old, makes a stunning run to the semifinals. Connors, a five-time US Open champion, comes back from a two-set deficit to defeat Patrick McEnroe in the first round, 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4, in a four hour, 35-five minute match that ends at 1:30 a.m. On his 39th birthday, Connors defeats Aaron Krickstein, 3-6, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6, in the fourth round. Jim Courier ends Connors' run in the semifinals by a 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 margin but is defeated in the final by Edberg, who claims his first US Open singles title and becomes the first player since Mal Anderson in 1957 to win the U.S. Championships the year after losing in the first round. In the women's final, Monica Seles defeats a 34-year-old Navratilova, 7-6, 6-1, to win her first women's singles title. The 1991 US Open opens with a record crowd of 22,166 fans passing through the turnstiles on Aug. 26-the largest single session crowd to attend the US Open.
At the age of 19 years and 28 days, Pete Sampras becomes the youngest US Open men's singles champion, defeating Andre Agassi, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, in the final. The 12th-seeded Sampras is also the lowest men's seed to win the US Open. (Mal Anderson in 1957 and Fred Stolle in 1966 were unseeded champions). The Sampras-Agassi final is the first All-American final since McEnroe defeated Vitas Gerulaitis for the 1979 title. Stefan Edberg becomes only the second No. 1 seed in the Open Era to lose in the first round, where he is dismissed in straight sets by Alexander Volkov. Gabriela Sabatini wins her first Grand Slam championship, upsetting Graf in the women's final, 6-2, 7-6.
Evert plays in her final US Open, losing to Zina Garrison in the quarterfinals, 7-6, 6-2. Evert defeats Monica Seles, 6-0, 6-2, in the round of 16 for her 101st and final singles victory at the US Open. Graf wins her second straight US Open title, defeating Navratilova in the final, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1. Boris Becker makes it a German sweep of the singles titles, defeating Lendl, 7-6, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6, in the final. With the result, Lendl ties Bill Tilden for the most successive singles finals in the U.S. Championships with eight. Becker is down match point in the second round to Derrick Rostagno but receives a lucky net cord on a forehand passing shot that keeps him in the tournament. John McEnroe teams with Mark Woodforde to win his fourth US Open doubles crown to go with his four singles titles.
Steffi Graf wins her first US Open title to complete the first Grand Slam in tennis since Margaret Court in 1970. Graf, the third player in the Open Era to claim the Grand Slam at the US Open, defeats Gabriela Sabatini in the final, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Later in the year, Graf captures the Olympic gold medal in Seoul, Korea, giving her a "Golden Slam." Mats Wilander clinches the No. 1 ranking and defeats Lendl, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, for the men's singles title in four hours and 55 minutes-the longest US Open singles final in the Open Era. A stomach virus causes Rick Leach and Chris Evert to default the men's doubles final and women's semifinal, respectively, on the same day.
Ivan Lendl wins his third straight title in his sixth straight final, defeating Mats Wilander of Sweden, 6-7, 6-0, 7-6, 6-4, in a four-hour, 47-minute final played on Monday due to rain. On the 100th anniversary of the first women's championships, Navratilova wins the US Open triple crown-the first sweep since Margaret Smith Court in 1970-defeating Steffi Graf for the women's singles title, teaming with Pam Shriver to win the women's doubles crown and pairing with Emilio Sanchez to win the mixed doubles title. Chris Evert's streak of 16 straight US Open semifinal appearances is ended by Lori McNeil in the quarterfinals. McNeil's victory also ensures that Evert will not win a Grand Slam title in a calendar year for the first time in 13 years. Michael Chang, at the age of 15 years, six months and 10 days, becomes the youngest male player to win a match at the US Open, defeating Paul McNamee in the first round. Lendl defeats McEnroe, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4, in a quarterfinal night match viewed by 21,016 fans-to date the largest crowd to watch a night match at the US Open.
In the year of the all-Czech singles finals, Lendl defeats Miloslav Mecir for the men's crown, and Navratilova defeats Helena Sukova for the women's title. All four players in the singles finals were born in Czechoslovakia; Navratilova, however, is an American citizen and Lendl a resident of Greenwich, Conn. Mecir, seeded No. 16, is the lowest-ranked finalist since unseeded Jan Kodes reached the 1971 men's singles final. McEnroe suffers his earliest exit from the US Open, losing to Paul Annacone in the first round, and Connors' streak of 12 straight semifinal berths is ended by Todd Witsken in the third round. Tim Wilkison is the lone American man to reach the quarterfinals.
After suffering through three straight US Open final-round losses, Lendl breaks through to win his first title, defeating McEnroe, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4, in the final. Hana Mandlikova's third US Open final is a charm, as she defeats Navratilova, 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, in the final. McEnroe, the top seed, avoids a major upset bid by Shlomo Glickstein in the tournament's opening round, surviving in the fifth-set tiebreak. Mary Joe Fernandez, at the age of 14 years and eight days, becomes the youngest person to win a match at the US Open when she defeats Sara Gomer in the first round, 6-1, 6-4. A tornado strikes the USTA National Tennis Center in the late afternoon of Aug. 30, causing serious damage to the grounds, including downed power lines, major flooding and uprooted trees. There is, however, no delay, and the tournament resumes in full the next day.
Saturday, Sept. 8-arguably the single greatest day in tennis history-highlights the 1984 US Open. Each of the four superb matches played on the Stadium Court extends to the maximum number of sets, beginning at 11:07 a.m. with Stan Smith defeating John Newcombe, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, in the senior men's semifinal. Lendl then saves a match point in defeating Pat Cash, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 7-6, in the first men's semifinal. Next, Navratilova captures her second straight US Open singles title, defeating Evert Lloyd, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4. McEnroe and Connors end the day's play at 11:14 p.m. with McEnroe eliminating the two-time defending champion, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3. The men's final proves anticlimactic next to the preceding day's events, as McEnroe defeats Lendl in straight sets for his fourth US Open men's singles title.
In her 11th US Open appearance, Navratilova breaks through to win her first US Open women's singles title. Navratilova, playing in only her second US Open final, routs six-time champion Chris Evert Lloyd, 6-1, 6-3. Connors and Lendl again play in the men's singles final, with Connors snatching the last nine games of the match for a 6-3, 6-7, 7-5, 6-0 victory. The championship was Connors' fifth at the US Open-making him the first male player to win five U.S. singles championships in 59 years, dating back to Bill Tilden's six titles from 1920-25. The winner's purse exceeds $100,000 for the first time, as Navratilova and Connors each receive checks for $120,000.
Evert Lloyd captures the last of her six US Open singles titles, defeating Hana Mandlikova in the final, 6-3, 6-1. Pam Shriver's stunning 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 quarterfinal upset of reigning French and Wimbledon champion Navratilova is the match of the tournament on the women's side. Top-seeded Navratilova, an overwhelming favorite for the title, leaves the court in tears as her Grand Slam hopes are dashed. Connors, who last won the US Open in 1978, also returns to the winner's circle, defeating first-time finalist Ivan Lendl in a crowd-pleasing, four-set final. Lendl ends John McEnroe's 26-match US Open win streak in the semifinals. Billie Jean King makes her final singles appearance at the US Open, losing in the first round to Susan Mascarin. Total tournament prize money exceeds $1 million.
At the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Championships, Americans claim both singles titles and the men's and women's doubles titles. McEnroe wins his third straight men's singles crown, equaling a feat last achieved by Bill Tilden in 1925. McEnroe defeats Borg in the final, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 6-3, in the Swede's final Grand Slam appearance. The loss is Borg's fourth US Open runner-up finish. McEnroe also teams with Peter Fleming to win the doubles title. At 18, Tracy Austin wins her second US Open title when Martina Navratilova double faults on match point of Austin's 1-6, 7-6, 7-6 victory. Navratilova, who upset Evert Lloyd in the semifinals, appears in her first US Open women's singles final.
Borg and McEnroe play one of the all-time great US Open Championship matches, as McEnroe fends off Borg in five sets, 7-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 6-4, for his second straight US Open title. After taking a three-month sabbatical from tennis earlier in the year, Evert Lloyd wins her fifth US Open title in the six years, defeating Hana Mandlikova, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, in the final. Evert avenges her 1979 final-round loss to Austin in the semifinals. At the age of 15 years, three months, Andrea Jaeger becomes the youngest US Open semifinalist, defeating Barbara Hallquist in a quarterfinal match viewed by a record crowd of 18,606. The 1980 US Open attracts 364,370 fans, which sets a new world tournament record.
Tracy Austin becomes the youngest US Open champion at the age of 16 years, eight months and 28 days, defeating four-time defending champion Chris Evert Lloyd, 6-4, 6-3, in the final. En route to the title, Austin defeats 14-year-old Andrea Jaeger in the second round and No. 2 seed Martina Navratilova in the semifinals. Austin's win breaks Evert Lloyd's 31-match win streak at the US Open. Kathy Horvath, five days past her 14th birthday, becomes the youngest woman to play in the US Open, losing in the first round to Dianne Fromholtz, 7-6, 6-2. In men's play, Roscoe Tanner's serve breaks the net and ends Borg's chances at a US Open title, as Tanner upsets the top seed in the quarterfinals. Four American men reach the semifinals for the first time since 1950 and two New Yorkers, John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis, reach the men's singles final, with McEnroe claiming his first Grand Slam singles title with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 victory.
Spearheaded by United States Tennis Association President W.E. "Slew" Hester, the US Open moves to the hard courts of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Bjorn Borg and Bob Hewitt play the first match ever on the Stadium Court on Tuesday night, Aug. 29. Pam Shriver, 16 and armed with a 110-square-inch oversized racquet, reaches the women's singles final, where she falls to Evert. The victory gives Evert her fourth straight US Open title, which equals the record set by Molla B. Mallory (1915-18) and Helen H. Jacobs (1932-35). Playing in his fifth straight US Open final, Connors dispatches Borg in straight sets for his third US Open title. The victory on the DecoTurf II hard courts gives Connors the distinction of being the only player to ever win the US Open on three different surfaces (grass in 1974, clay in 1976 and hard in 1978 and later 1982-83). Total attendance at the 1978 US Open exceeds 275,000, setting a new tournament record. Total tournament prize money exceeds $500,000.
In the last US Open played at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, US Open crowds get their first look at Tracy Austin and John McEnroe. Austin, the 14-year-old tennis sensation, upsets No. 4 seed Sue Barker and reaches the quarterfinals. McEnroe, from nearby Douglaston, N.Y., earns three victories before bowing to 1975 US Open champion Manuel Orantes. Guillermo Vilas shocks defending champion Jimmy Connors in a dramatic four-set final, while Chris Evert wins her third straight singles title, defeating Wendy Turnbull in the final. With the 1978 US Open moving to the hard courts of the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, N.Y., Evert's victory, combined with her two victories in 1975 and 1976, gives her the distinction of being the only woman to win a US Open singles title on clay courts. Forty-two-year-old transsexual Renee Richards loses in the first round to No. 3 seed Virginia Wade, but reaches the doubles final with Bettyann Stuart. The women's doubles is won by Betty Stove and Martina Navratilova. It is the first US Open title for Navratilova; her last would come 29 years later, when she teams with American Bob Bryan to win the mixed doubles title. In men's play, Mike Fishbach's spaghetti racquet earns him a second-round upset of Stan Smith.
In the 200th year of American independence, two Americans claim singles titles at the 1976 US Open-Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert. Evert wins her second straight US Open title by defeating Goolagong for the second consecutive year. Connors and Swede Bjorn Borg play a memorable final,, highlighted by the 70-minute third set that ends in a thrilling tiebreak won by Connors 11-9 after saving four set points. Connors would go on to a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph for his second US Open title.
Night tennis makes its debut in Grand Slam tennis at the 1975 US Open-the first of three US Opens played on clay courts. The lights at the West Side Tennis Club shine on one of the greatest comebacks in tennis history as Manuel Orantes saves five match points and comes back from being down two-sets-to-one and 0-5 in the fourth set to defeat Guillermo Vilas, 4-6, 1-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-4, in the semifinals. Less than 18 hours after defeating Vilas, Orantes upsets top-seeded and defending champion Connors, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, in the men's singles final. Evert makes the most of the first US Open played on clay courts by defeating Goolagong, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, for her first US Open women's singles title. The victory over Goolagong was Evert's 85th in her 125-match win streak on clay. Eighteen-year-old Martina Navratilova of Czechoslovakia makes world-wide headlines as she announces her defection to the United States.
In the final U.S. Championships/US Open played on grass, 22-year-old Jimmy Connors crushes 39-year-old Ken Rosewall in 78 minutes, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1, in the most lopsided final in the history of the U.S. Championships/US Open. It marks the first of five US Open titles for Connors, who would again win in 1976, 1978, 1982 and 1983. Billie Jean King notches her fourth singles title at Forest Hills, defeating Goolagong, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Goolagong ends Chris Evert's 56-match win streak in the semifinals.
Another hallmark achievement in tennis history is recorded at the US Open, as men and women players receive equal prize money at the US Open. The beneficiaries are Margaret Smith Court and John Newcombe, who are awarded championship checks of $25,000 for their respective singles championships. Newcombe avenges his loss to Jan Kodes in the first round of the 1971 US Open, defeating the Wimbledon champion in a five-set final. Court wins her fifth U.S. Championship/US Open with a 7-6, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Evonne Goolagong, who would finish as the US Open runner-up four straight years (1973-76).
In a dramatic comeback, Ilie Nastase thwarts Arthur Ashe's bid for a second US Open title, defeating the 1968 champion, 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3, in a final viewed by a then-record crowd of 14,696. Nastase trails two sets to one and faces break point serving at 1-3 in the fourth. Nastase, who also trailed by a service break in the fifth set, earned $25,000 for the championship. Billie Jean King becomes the first player in the Open Era to repeat as singles champion at the US Open, defeating Kerry Melville, 6-3, 7-5.
A 16-year-old Chris Evert makes her US Open debut by reaching the semifinals, where she is defeated by eventual champion Billie Jean King. King, who sat out the 1970 US Open due to knee surgery, upends doubles partner Rosie Casals, 6-4, 7-6, for the championship and the $5,000 first-prize check. Less than a month later, King would become the first woman to ever exceed $100,000 in prize money for a year. Stan Smith's victory in the men's championship gives the U.S. a sweep of the men's and women's singles titles for the first time in 16 years. It also marks Smith's first Grand Slam singles title after claiming two Grand Slam doubles titles with Bob Lutz. Wimbledon champion John Newcombe loses in the first round to Jan Kodes, 2-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-3, becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose in the opening round of the U.S. Championships/US Open since 1928.
The tiebreak makes its Grand Slam debut and Court defeats Rosie Casals 6-2, 2-6, 6-1 in the women's final to become only the second woman to win the Grand Slam. Her US Open victory also marks the second straight year a Grand Slam was completed at the US Open, following Rod Laver in 1969. Court did not stop with her singles triumph, winning the first US Open triple crown by claiming the women's doubles title with Judy Dalton and the mixed doubles title with Marty Riessen. Her total prize money for all three events is $9,500. In men's play, 35-year-old Ken Rosewall wins his second US Open singles title-14 years after his first triumph-defeating Tony Roche in the final, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-3. Rosewall withstands the loss of the first set, three break points at 5-6 in the third set, a tight third set tiebreak (the first-ever in a Grand Slam final) and a cracked frame to his favorite wooden racket, which he continued to use because of its marvelous touch.
Australian Rod Laver completes his second Grand Slam and the fourth in tennis history, defeating countryman Tony Roche, 7-9, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, for the championship. Because rain delayed the final until Monday, the historic singles final was only viewed by a crowd of 3,708. Soggy weather further delayed the Monday final by 1 hour, 35 minutes while a rented helicopter flew into the Stadium Court at the West Side Tennis Club and dried off the grass playing surface. After he failed to win the first set serving at 5-4, Laver makes a strategic switch from sneakers to spikes to help his footing on the slippery grass surface. With the spikes, Laver wins 20 of the next 29 games. In women's play, Margaret Smith Court captures the singles title with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Nancy Richey. Court also wins the mixed doubles title with Marty Riessen but fails to win the first US Open triple, losing in the women's doubles final with Virginia Wade to Francoise Durr and Darlene Hard.
Arthur Ashe wins the first ever US Open men's singles crown, defeating Tom Okker of the Netherlands, 14-12, 5-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, in the final. Because of his amateur status, the 25-year-old Ashe, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was ineligible to receive the $14,000 first prize in the $100,000 event-at the time the richest tournament in tennis history. Instead, Ashe collects only his $20 per diem. Ashe is the first American to win the U.S. men's singles title since 1955 and the first-ever African-American to win a men's singles title at a Grand Slam Championship. The New York Times calls Ashe's victory "the most notable achievement made in the sport by a Negro male athlete." Virginia Wade of Great Britain upsets top-seeded Billie Jean King for the women's title and collects a check of $6,000.