The US Open was formerly contested on the genteel grass courts of the Forest Hills Tennis Club. In 1978 the tournament relocated to the bustling, boisterous United States Tennis Association Centre in Flushing Meadows in the borough of Queens on New York’s Long Island and is now played on a hardcourt surface. John McEnroe once famously yelled “Shut Up” to planes passing over the stadium to land at La Guardia airport. The tournament is played in the enervating humidity of a New York summer in late August and is the final tournament to be won by those seeking the elusive calendar year Grand Slam of tennis, last achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988 and, before that, by Margaret Court in 1970. Rod Laver secured his second Grand Slam with victory in the 1969 US Open final.
Bjorn Borg is probably the greatest male player never to win a US Open title, losing finals in 1976,1978,1980 and1981. Australia’s Evonne Goolagong lost four successive finals from 1973-1976. From 1974-1984 all its Men’s champions were left-handed! In 1984, the US Open wrote its most famous chapter when ‘Super Saturday’ was played. The three matches on Arthur Ashe stadium lasted for a combined total of close to 12 hours: Ivan Lendl edged past Pat Cash in five sets in the first of the Men’s semi-finals; Martina Navratilova then won her second US title by beating perennial rival Chris Evert 4-6 6-4 6-4. In winning that match, Martina edged ahead of Chris 31-30 in their historic head to head rivalry which was to end 43-37 in Martina's favour, but both winning 18 grand slam titles each. To close Super Saturday John McEnroe then defeated Jimmy Connors in another five set semi-final finishing close to midnight. Andy Murray won his first Grand Slam title in New York in 2012 and the Williams sisters have won eight titles between them, with Serena claiming six which equals the Open era record of Chris Evert. For many years the US Open was the only Grand Slam tournament that played a deciding set tiebreaker at 6-6 in the final set of matches.
The last Australian to win the title was Lleyton Hewitt in 2001, defeating Pete Sampras days before the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Samantha Stosur is Australia’s last female champion, upsetting Serena Williams to win her only Grand Slam singles title in 2011.
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