The final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open 2019 is on the verge of starting as the tennis world turn their heads towards the Flushing Meadows for the next fortnight. The US Open is the second major tournament to be played on the hard surface, with the first one being the Australian Open. However, the difference between US Open and Australian Open is much more.
The two major tournaments vary from each other in regards to the court behavior, climate, the behavior of the balls, the crowd, time of the year played
Australian Open has been played on a Plexicushion since 2008, a medium-paced hard court with lower bounce and less spin than the US Open. Prior to the 2008 Australian Open, the event was played on a Rebound Ace, which was acrylic and more comparable to the US Open. The Rebound Ace was used since the Melbourne Park was opened in 1988.
While the US Open is on DecoTurf, which is slightly faster with higher bounce.
Australian Open is played in sweltering, oppressive heat, so it becomes something of a battle of attrition. The temperature in Melbourne soars to around 35 degree Celsius to 40 degree Celsius or more during the month of January. Extreme heat has been an issue at the event from the past many years.
Last year, the organizers of the tournament made a new model, ‘heat stress’ scale to monitor conditions for players and spectators. A score of ‘1’ is regarded as the temperature at playing conditions, whereas when the scale reaches ‘4’ players will have access to an extended break. Play will be suspended when the scale reaches the score of ‘5’.
On the other hand, the US Open is played at a much milder climate. The temperature in New York is around 23 degree Celsius to 30 degrees Celcius. However, the humidity has caused havoc at the US Open in recent years.
The temperatures have soared above 30 degrees Celsius in recent years and the USTA was forced to implement special rules to provide relief for suffering players. The players are granted a 10-minute heat break between second and third set for women and between third and fourth set for men.
As the temperature is more in Australia, the pressure inside the tennis ball expands. As the molecules inside the ball expand, their energy also increases, which makes the ball to bounce erratically.
On the other hand, the temperature is lesser in New York during the US Open and it further decreases during the night sessions. A decrease in the temperature causes the gas molecules to contract and move around more sluggishly. As a result, a cold ball has a much lower bounce.
The crowd behaves quite differently in Melbourne and New York. At the US Open, the crowd is much more vocal than that of the crowd in Australia.
The two main courts of the Australian Open, the Rod Laver Arena has a seated capacity of 14,820 and the Melbourne Arena has the capacity of 10,500.
On the other hand, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has the biggest capacity stadium in tennis. The main court of the US Open, the Arthur Ashe Stadium has 23,771-seats and the second court, Louis-Armstrong Stadium has 14,061-seat.
The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament of the season and is played in the month of January. The players enter the event with a fresh mind and body as they come back on the court after a break. However, the players also enter the tournament with less match practice.
On the other hand, the US Open is the last major tournament of the year and starts from the last week of August. Majority of the top players comes to this event after playing 40-50 matches on the tour and the participants are mostly tired till the US Open.