History of a
Tennis Grand Slam Tournament
Called the US National Singles Championship, the first US Open was held in August, 1881, at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island. Entry was restricted to those clubs that were members of the United States National Lawn Tennis Association. The event was held at Newport for the next 34 years.
That first tournament was won by Richard Sears, who went on to win 7 consecutive titles.
Six years after the first men's tournament, the first official Women's National Singles Championship was held in 1887. It was played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. Two years later, in 1889, The US Women's National Doubles Championship was added to the tournament. The first Mixed Doubles Championship was played alongside the Women's Singles and Doubles.
Overall, the five major events have been played at nine different sites in the tournament's history. Of these major events, the Women's Singles has been played in the fewest places -- The Philadelphia Cricket Club, The West Side Tennis Club and The USTA National Tennis Center.
With the advent of the 'Open' era in 1968, for the first time the US Open staged all five events at The West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y. The tournament was held on grass courts, with total prize money of $100,000 and a field of 96 men and 63 women. Athur Ashe was the winner of the Men's Singles, Virginia Wade of Great Britain won the Women's Singles.
In 1970, the US Open was the first of the Grand slam tournaments to adopt the tie-breaker. In another controversial move, in 1975 the tournament surface at The West Side Tennis Club was switched from grass courts to green clay. The winners of the singles that year were Spain's Manuel Orantes and Chris Evert of the USA.
Just three years later, the tournament was moved to the deco-turf hard courts at The USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadow, New York, where the main court is the 23,000 seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, named after Arthur Ashe, the winner of the inaugural professional US Open in 1968.
After the switch to hard courts, the US Open was totally dominated by Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe in the Men's Singles, and Chris Evert (1978, 1980, 1982), Tracy Austin (1979, 1981) and Martina Navratilova (1983, 1984) in the Women's Singles.
Today, the US Open offers close to $20 Million to a field of over 600 men and women, including qualifiers.
Australian Open History
French Open History