Starting on Monday next week, the world’s top male and female tennis stars will be ready to compete at the US Open tennis tournament, held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre in Flushing Meadow, New Jersey. 128 players will compete in each draw in an attempt to land a top prize which is estimated to be worth $3.8 million to the winner, one of the richest prizes in all of sport.
Last year it was Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Japan’s Naomi Osaka who landed the trophy in each event and they will be back this year to defend their title and with the competition chomping at the bit to try and succeed them, it promises to be an entertaining two weeks of action, which will be beamed around the world to hundreds of countries worldwide.
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US Open Facts and Figures
- The first tournament was held at the Newport Casino on Rhode Island in 1881
- The first female tournament took place in 1887.
- The first Champions of the Open era in Tennis were in 1968 and were Arthur Ashe, after whom the show court is named after, and British ace Virginia Wade.
- The US Open offered equal prize money to men and women from 1973.
- The tournament was played on grass until 1974, then on clay from 1975 to 1977 before moving to hard court in 1978. Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won the tournament on all three surfaces, a record that is unlikely to ever be beaten.
- The most successful players in the men’s game were Richard Sears, William Larned and Bill Tilden with seven wins apiece. In the open era, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer hold the record with five wins each.
- The most successful female US Open player was Molla Malllory who won eight tournaments. In the Open era however the record holder is jointly held by Chris Evert and Serena Williams who have won the title on six occasions each.
- The youngest ever winner of the tournament was Pete Sampras in the men’s event who was 19 years and a month old, while Tracey Austin landed her only US Open win aged just 16 years and 8 months of age.
Who are the main contenders in the men’s tournament?
- Roger Federer
The 37-year old Swiss superstar may be approaching the twilight of his career but he is showing no signs of slowing down. After a brilliant performance at Wimbledon where he reached the final, losing a tight five-set game to Djokovic, he looks well set to go better in the US Open than he has done in a while, with the last of his five wins coming many years ago.
- Novak Djokovic
The 32-year old Serbian has bounced back from a miserable 2017 to claim four of the last five Grand Slam singles titles in the mens’ game with only the French Open title not currently in his collection. One of the greatest all-round players to play the game, his mental fortitude, incredible shot making and outstanding fitness levels have seen him get the better of both Nadal and Federer in finals here and for me, he is the man to beat once again.
- Rafael Nadal
A three-time winner of this event in 2010, 2013 and 2017, the Spaniard is without doubt one of the best players to ever play the game, although a talented hard court player, he is more a clay court specialist where he has landed an incredible 12 French Open titles in his career so far. His form at the US Open in recent years is decent and for me, he could be Djokovic’s main opposition here.
Could also go well – Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori
Our Pick – Nadal and Federer are excellent but nobody can touch Djokovic at the minute and we’re backing Novak for back to back successes here.
Who are the main contenders in the women’s tournament?
- Ashleigh Barty
The young Australian has enjoyed a fine rise to the top of the women’s game where her consistency has seen her reward with a quarterfinal at the Australian Open followed by a French Open victory later in the year. She went out in the 4th Round at Wimbledon but should go better on a surface more to her liking in New York. She has a fine all round game and I think will improve greatly on her best ever performance at the US Open, which was a 4th Round spot last year.
- Simone Halep
A surprise winner of Wimbledon this year on what she confesses is not her favourite surface, Simone Halep has matured a great deal over recent years to mature into a fine player. A former number 1 ranked player, she has incredible talent and if she can keep her emotions in check, then she stands a good chance of going deep into the tournament if she can find her rhythm quickly in the early rounds of the tournament.
- Serena Williams
Since becoming a mother and returning to the tour, it has been a close of so near but yet so far for Serena Williams. She reached the final here last year and at Wimbledon this year but lost on both occasions. Age is perhaps not on her side, but on her day she remains the dominant force in women’s tennis. However, she does seem to lose energy as the tournament progresses into the later stages which may count against her here.
Could also go well – Jo Konta, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, Madison Keys
Our Pick – It will be close but we think it is Serena Williams time to shine once again in front of her home crowd.