The US Open is underway and we cannot wait to find out who captures the trophy and $3.8 million along with it. Here are 9 facts about the championship you probably never knew about.
9) Gunshots witnessed
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.
8) The only Grand Slam to be played on all 3 surfaces
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.
7) First Grand Slam to use Hawk Eye system
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.
6) $53 million
That is, the total prize money dedicated to the US Open 2018. Both the men’s and women’s singles champions will receive a record $3.8.
The runners-up in the singles divisions will each receive $1.85 million. The winning teams in both men’s and women’s doubles will share $700,000, according to the USTA.
In 1973, this tournament became the first to offer equal prize money to male and female competitors.
The total $53 million purse for the 2018 US Open is more than a 5 percent increase on the $50.4 million offered in 2017. Prize money at the U.S. Open has increased by 57 percent since 2013, the USTA said.
5) US Open timings
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.
4) Gender equality
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.
3) The 5th Set Rule
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.
2) Serena’s brilliance
Serena Williams has won six titles at Flushing Meadows, the most by anyone, tied with Chris Evert.
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 for a 24th Major title win this year.
1) Men’s single titles
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 Rafael Nadal is the defending champion aiming for his 18th Grand Slam victory.