The US Open: Facts and Figures
The US Open tournament captivates global audiences for a fortnight each year as Americans flock to New York City for the final tennis Grand Slam of the sporting calendar.
Before you settle down to take in a little Flushing Meadows fever, arm yourself with a selection of US Open facts and US Open statistics to wow your viewing partners.
The US Open in Numbers
$3.8m - the prize for the winners of the 2018 singles tournaments. That's an increase of $100,000 from 2017
54,000 - the number of tennis balls used during the US Open
10% - the number of total Open era Grand Slams won by Roger Federer (the Open era began in 1968!)
8 - the current streak of Grand Slams won by players over 30-years-old
$100m - the revenue raised from tickets sales from the 700,000 fans who flock to Flushing Meadows
20-18 - the longest tie break in US Open history between Goran Ivanisevic and Daniel Nestor in 1993
The US Open History and Tradition
The original US National Championships was first held in 1881. Beginning as a men’s singles and doubles tournament, women were invited to join in 1887, with mixed doubles arriving two years later.
Despite being four years younger than Wimbledon, the US Open has been held more times due to Great Britain’s direct involvement in both World Wars.
The US Open tennis tournament moved to Flushing Meadows in 1978 and is the only Grand Slam to have been played on each type of surface – grass, clay and a hard-acrylic layer laid upon asphalt. Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won the title on each surface.
If you are interested in the history of this iconic event, take a look at Bet UK's US Open History.
Winners and Losers of the US Open
In the Open era, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer hold the record for most US Open wins in the men’s game at five each. Chris Evert and Serena Williams have the most female victories with six apiece. Roger Federer is still one of the Men's Favourite for the 2018 US Open, whereas Serena Williams is again one of the Women's Favourites for the 2018 US Open.
Ken Roswell holds the record as the oldest player to win the US major in the Open era. He was 35 years, 10 months and 11 days when he won the title in 1970. Roger Federer will be 37 years, 1 month and 2 days if he wins this year.
Pete Sampras was the youngest ever men’s winner at the age of 19. Tracy Austin was just 16 when she won the women’s tournament in 1979.
The US Open trophy was designed by Tiffany & Co, a New York-based jeweller famed for appearing in the title of the 1961 classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The firm have been responsible for dozens of other sporting prizes, including the MLS championship, Kentucky Derby and Super Bowl trophies.
US Open Courts and Stadiums
All courts at the US Open are blue in colour. The colour was changed from green in 2005 to make it easier for players and TV viewers to track the ball.
The US Open blue hue is trademarked. The Pantone blue 2965U was carefully developed. The shade provides the most contrast for viewers and players from the yellow tennis balls which are knocked back and forth upon it.
The US Open was the first Grand Slam tournament to use Hawk Eye technology in 2006. This year’s competition will be the first to feature the system on all 22 courts. Last year it was used on just seven.
The US Open and Gender Equality
The US Open was the first sporting event to pay men and women the same amount of prize money. The equal pot was introduced in 1973.
Three years after the equal prize money ruling, Reneé Richards was barred from the tournament unless she consented to chromosomal testing. Born a man, Richards underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1975. US tennis chiefs would not accept her playing as a woman and the dispute went all the way to the New York Supreme Court. The court ruled in her favour and Richards made it to the doubles finals of 1977.
Umpires, Line Judges and Ball Persons at the US Open
It’s not just the players who make the headlines. Umpire Lois Goodman was arrested live on TV on her way to officiate a match in 2012 on suspicion of killing her husband. She was later cleared of all charges and returned to the US Open a year later as an official.
A tennis linesman died after being struck by a wayward serve from future Swedish champion Stefan Edberg in 1983. Ronald Wertheim was struck in the groin and the blow knocked him backward out of his chair. He died five days later from the head injury he sustained.
Ball boys and girls at the US Open get paid an hourly wage of $11 an hour - not bad for the best seat in the house! It takes an army of approximately 375 ball persons to attend to the US Open matches. This year, for the first time, the essential personnel will no longer be permitted to throw balls to each other overarm. In the US Open 2018, balls must be rolled.