Here are nine US Open facts you probably never knew about. Better late than never!
A dubious incident in which gunshots were fired occurred in the Arthur Ashe stadium making the USO the only Grand Slam to be held up by a shooting incident.
The legendary John McEnroe was playing countryman Eddie Dibbs in a third-round match at Forest Hills in 1977 when play was halted by a commotion in the crowd.
McEnroe won the match 6-2 4-6 6-4 but it later emerged that 33-year-old spectator James Reilly had indeed been hit in the leg by a stray bullet from the streets of Queen’s.
That is – grass, clay & hard surfaces.
Grass was the favoured surface until a switch to clay in 1975. Initially, it was held at Forest Hills, like all the Grand Slams at that time, with the bar being the French Open.
Jimmy Connors is the only man to win the same grand slam on three different surfaces: grass at Forest Hills in 1974, clay at Forest Hills in 1976, and hard court in 1978 at Flushing Meadows.
Chris Evert is the only woman to hold the same record.
It happens to be the first Grand Slam to use the Hawk Eye system to review points.
In a game where one bad call can cost some the match—and millions of dollars—this system allows the players three unsuccessful challenges per set, with an additional challenge if the set reaches a tie break.
With this said, it just shows why the Flushing Meadows is the tennis capital of the world, and the USO the most high profile Major of the year.
That is, the total prize money dedicated to the US Open 2016. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will receive a record $3.5.
This is an increase of 10% increase from 2015. Compare that with the £28.10m ($31.82) at Wimbledon which’ll make you believe how high end this Major actually is.
The prize money for the Qualifying Tournament is also up by 10 percent which is now $1.9 million.
The US Open actually plays games into the wee morning hours.
Several night matches are scheduled in Arthur Ashe Stadium and, depending on the length of the early matches, the showcase match of the night might not start until 9 pm or 10 pm – a sharp contrast to Wimbledon (which imposes an 11 pm curfew on play).
This, alongside the Australian Open, accounts for the Grand Slams with the most absurd timings, which of course, still doesn’t deter fans from showing up.
The US Open in 1971 became the first Major to offer equal prize money to both men and women. Champions John Newcombe and Margaret Court received $25,000 each.
Usually, when a set reads 6-6, a tie-breaker is played in which the player who wins a minimum of 7 points first with a lead of 2 points wins the set. But when it comes to the Grand Slams like the Australian Open, French Open and The Wimbledon, NO tie-breaker is played in the final set. Rather, the set goes on until there is a difference of two games in the set; both the set and the game are consequently awarded to the player who was ahead by two games.
The USO on the other hand employs the tie-break to decide the final set. This is controversial for most tennis fans considering that all other Majors opted out of it, but does help in bringing closure to an already extended match.
Serena Williams has won six titles at Flushing Meadows, the most by anyone, tied with Chris Evert. She could not defend her title last year as she was ousted by the Italian Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals.
It was at the US Open where Serena won her maiden singles major title at the age of 17. If things go right for her, she has a chance to cross the 22 Majors mark this year, ahead of the legend Steffi Graf.
Five: The most amount of men’s singles titles won in the Open Era. Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer completed the feat. Federer is the only player to have won five consecutively.
This year Novak Djokovic will be defending his title, aiming for his third title at Flushing Meadows, to take the overall Grand Slam count to 13.