US Open facts and figures: From the various surfaces to the trophies and a few records

Empty Arthur Ashe Stadium at Flushing Meadows - US Open

After many months of will it or won’t it happen, the 2020 US Open is good to go and we have interesting facts and figures for you ahead of the hard-court Grand Slam.

Up and running since 1881
It is the second oldest Grand Slam behind Wimbledon (1877) as the first edition of the US National Championship was held in August 1881 at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island.

Only the men’s singles and men’s doubles events took place during the inaugural edition with women’s singles competition added in 1887 with the women’s doubles joining the programme two years later.
Flushing Meadows home of US Open PA

The various surfaces and venues
The US Open is the only major to have been played on all three main outdoor surfaces namely grass, clay and hard court.

From 1881 until 1974 it was held on grass courts and then they switched to clay for three years from 1975 until 1977 before adopting the hard courts in 1978.

The grass courts of the Newport Casino were the venue until 1914 and then they switched to the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills, New York, in 1915 until 1977.

The Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia held it from 1921 until 1923 but West Side Tennis Club hosted 60 editions before it moved to the current USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

More about the USTA National Tennis Center
It was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006 in honour of the great Billie Jean King.

The venue houses 22 hard courts and the main stadium, the Arthur Ashe Stadium, has an outdoor, retractable roof and can hold up to 23,771 spectators, which makes it the largest tennis stadium in the world in terms of capacity.

Louis Armstrong Stadium, which also has a retractable roof, holds 14,000 people while the Grandstand has a capacity of 8,125.

Leading the way
The US Open became the first Grand Slam to use the tie-breaker in 1970, but as of 2019 it is no longer the only major to employ tie-breakers in the deciding set (third set for women and fifth set for men) as the Australian Open and Wimbledon also adopted the tie-breakers this year.
Serena Williams with US Open trophy PA

In 1973 they set the standard again as they awarded equal prize money to the men’s and women’s singles champions while in 1975 they introduced night play after installing floodlights.

Staying with money matters
The prize money for this year’s tournament is $53.4 million (about £41m), down about five per cent from the previous year.

The men’s and women’s champions will walk away with a handy $3m (about £2,2m) winner’s cheque, down $900,000 from 2019, while first-round losers’ earnings have increased from last year as they will get $61,000 (£46,000).

Those lovely trophies
The US Open trophies are created by Tiffany & Co.

And here is a lovely video.

Roll of honour
Roger Federer, Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras lead the way in terms of most titles won in the Open Era as they each have five to their name while Chris Evert and Serena Williams have won six each on the women’s side.

Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu are the reigning men’s and women’s singles champions, but their of them will be in New York to defend their titles.

Colombian duo Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah won the men’s doubles title last year, Elise Mertens from Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka from Belarus are the women’s doubles champions while American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Great Britain’s Jamie Murray successfully defended their mixed doubles title. However, there is no mixed doubles on this year’s programme.

A few records
Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras is the youngest-ever male champion as he was 19 years and one month when he won the title in 1990 while Tracy Austin was a mere 16 years and eight months when she lifted the trophy back in 1979.

As for oldest winners, you have to go back more than a decade as William Larned was 38 years and eight months when he won the last of his seven titles in 1911 while Molla Mallory was 42 years and five months when she won in 1926.

Jimmy Connors lost just two games and required only 20 games to beat two-time champion Ken Rosewall by a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in 1972.

The longest match at the US Open took place in 1992 when Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang played for five hours and 26 minutes before the Swede won 6-7 (3-5), 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-4.

Shelby Rogers and Daria Gavrilova battled for three hours and 33 minutes at the 2017 US Open with Rogers winning 7-6 (8-6), 4-6, 7-6, (7-5).

Goran Ivanisevic and Daniel Nestor hold the record for the longest tie-breaker as they played 38 points during their 1993 US Open first-round match, with the Croatian winning 6–4, 7–6(7–5), 7–6 (20–18).

Venus and Serena Williams were the first sisters to meet in a US Open final when they played each other in 2001 with Venus winning in two sets.

Connors is also the only player to have won the title on grass, clay and hard court.

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