why you should watch it even if you don’t like tennis
The most equal of all the Grand Slam tournaments, the US Open, will open its doors to its courts in New York on August 28. Sportmk spoke about the main contenders, tournament layouts, intrigues and scandals.
In 1973, the US Open, or the US Open for short, became the first Big Four competition to equalize the monetary rights of all participants. Tennis players, and especially female tennis players, love this tournament very much for the same prize money for the winners in the men’s and women’s singles. Then for the victory they received $ 25 thousand. This year, the total prize pool will be $65 million, the most for any Grand Slam tournament.
The winners in the women’s and men’s singles will each receive $3 million, and the finalists will each receive $1.5 million. In addition, the organizers prepared $1,000 travel vouchers for all participants, which can be used to rent a hotel room with an extra room. And the icing on the cake will be the use of video replays during tennis matches on 5 of the 17 courts – for the first time in US Open history.
according to the @IBM AI Draw Analysis, Novak Djokovic has the more favorable draw over Carlos Alcaraz.
Who do you think is going to make it back to a #USOpen final? ⬇️
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 27, 2023
History of Tennis Democracy
The US Open dates back to 1881. August, Newport, Rhode Island. The American Lawn Tennis Association in a local club decided to organize the first men’s tennis tournament, allowing only its members to participate in it – a total of 26 people. But already in 1887, women’s singles and mixed doubles began to be played, and in 1889 a women’s pair was added.
An interesting detail: in the same 1887, it was decided to hold the tournament at different times in three places at once: men played alone in Newport, couples – to the accompaniment of classical music – in New Jersey, and mixed doubles were successfully held in Philadelphia. Having traveled for decades to different US states, the most visited Grand Slam tournament found its home in New York. Couples continued to play in Massachusetts until 1967.
Americans idolize the US Open. First of all – for rock music performed in between matches. And for the gorgeous photos of planes flying literally overhead. Plus they play in New York until late at night, the final can be scheduled for 21.00 or 22.00 local time.
On the subject: You can get free access to 500 New York tennis courts
For more than a century of history, the US Open has changed 3 major surfaces. Until 1975, all matches were played exclusively on grass, then for three years – on green ground, and in 1978 hard won its right to a permanent “residence permit”. Changed in 2005 the usual color of green grass to blue.
The organizers of the US Open Tennis will compete for a record prize pool at this tournament. This is the official website of the competition.
The total prize fund of the US Open has been steadily growing since 2020, when the organizers raffled off $53.4 million amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The very next year it was 57.5 million, and in 2022 it reached 60 million for the first time.
This year, the total fund of prize and compensation payments was increased immediately to 65 million, a record figure in the history of the tournament. The organizers associated the increase in the fund with a wide coverage of compensation payments for participants in the competition.
For example, they will introduce $1,000 travel vouchers for participants, provide tennis players with an extra hotel room, or double the cost of living. The coverage for feeding and pulling rackets will also increase. All privileges will be provided to participants of all US Open-2023 tournaments, from qualifying to the main draw.
But the famous tennis competition is famous not only for its positivity. Enough and various scandals. So, in 1968, the American Artush Ash, in whose honor the main arena would later be named, because of his amateur status, could not receive his cash prize for the victory – $ 14,000. He was only paid a legal per diem of $15 for each game day of the tournament.
Get into a scandal at the US Open and Russian Yevgeny Kafelnikov. In 1996, the ex-first racket of the world accused the organizers of the tournament of fraud with the draw. At that time, not a classic principle based on the ATP rating was chosen, but a modified one, in which it was decided to take into account the spectator rating of tennis players and their achievements on hard.
“I am in complete shock. With Boris Becker they wouldn’t let that happen, so I’m going home because I don’t want to play in a tournament where this happens. Here I could compete for No. 1, I specially treated my ribs in order to recover for this tournament. I’m very annoyed, so I’m going home, ”Kafelnikov expressed his dissatisfaction that year. And, having withdrawn from the tournament, he flew to Russia.
In 2004, another outrage happened at the US Open, this time related to the judges. The famous brawler Serena Williams got into an unpleasant story. The famous American suffered from the actions of the Portuguese referee Mariana Alves: in the quarterfinals against Jennifer Capriati, the judge on the tower several times canceled the decisions of the linesmen in favor of the latter. Serena lost the match. Even the apology of the representatives of the Women’s Tennis Association and the disqualification of Alves until the end of the tournament did not help. That scandal even got the name – “Anti-Serena”.
Ball in the throat
The American did not stop there. And in 2009 again made a commotion. On match points in the semifinals of the US Open against Belgian Kim Clijsters, the line judge recorded Serena’s step (a situation when a tennis player steps on or behind the back line during the serve). And asked to replay the point. Her request was denied. The tennis player did not stand on ceremony and promised the referee to “shove the ball down her throat.” These words of Williams cost dearly: she was deprived of the opportunity to finish the match and issued a fine of $ 82,500.
Another US Open scandal has been going on for years. It’s all about tennis balls. Namely, in their felt covering. Men play with hard-coated balls (extra duty). They don’t wear out on hard anymore. And the girls use “round”, with a soft surface (regular duty), which do not push and have good speed. So it was decided in the distant 80s. The reason is simple: hard-surfaced balls put too much strain on the hands of tennis players. That’s just officially to the organizers of the tournament on this issue, no one has yet addressed. Czech Petra Kvitova, for example, is delighted with the balls, and Iga Sventek, on the contrary, does not stop scolding them.
Last year, Novak Djokovic decided to write his name into the scandalous history of the US Open. The Serb refused to be vaccinated against the coronavirus he hated, thinking that even without vaccination he would compete in the tournament. But it was not there: Novak was not only denied participation in the competition, but was not allowed into the United States at all.
US Open-2023 has not yet begun, and the first scandal has already taken place. Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska, 111th racket of the world, after winning the semi-final match of the tournament qualification, did not shake hands with Canadian Eugenie Bouchard. The girl explained her refusal by the fact that in April of this year, Bouchard accused a Ukrainian woman of doping on her social networks: “There is something special about playing with doping girls in Madrid.” Meaning Maria Sharapova and Dayana Yastremskaya, who have retired well-deservedly. True, she later apologized for her remarks.
Meanwhile, Sharapova, unexpectedly for everyone, specially flew to New York for the US Open matches. And already managed to sign autographs and chat with the fans. Noting that he does not miss tennis at all.
The socks were borrowed by an American, the T-shirt by a German
Tennis history remembers everything. Marat Safin, who defeated the great American Pete Sampras in the final of the US Open in 2000, remembered that tournament not for the decisive match, but for the game of the third round against Sebastian Grosjean. Then this meeting was interrupted several times because of the rain. And Safin forgot to take a sufficient number of sports uniforms with him. I had to ask for help: the American Jeff Tarango gave him his socks, and the German Nicholas Kiefer gave him a T-shirt.
The absolute record holder for the number of titles at the US Open in all categories is the great Martina Navratilova. The Czech has won 16 times in New York – four titles in singles, nine in doubles and three in mixed doubles. And she won her last victory on the eve of her 50th birthday, becoming the oldest Grand Slam champion.
The representative of Kazakhstan came to the tournament despite a shoulder injury. She has not yet managed to outplay her opponents, but the main thing is that she was able to defeat herself and play with an injury.
The first racket of the world, last year’s winner of the competition, Iga Sviontek, does not promise anything in terms of playing at the US Open to either specialists or fans. According to her, in New York she will rely only on her own strength.
Belarusian Arina Sobolenko will also try to win at the starting US Open. She has a crazy motivation – the title of the first racket of the world. For this, nothing is needed – so that Swiatek does not defend the title, and Arina, on the contrary, becomes the winner or goes through the tournament better than the polka.
Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov may meet in the 4th round of the US Open. Next – the quarterfinals, in which the winner will cross rackets with Medvedev. Provided that the first racket of Russia itself will not fly out in the early stages of the tournament. After all, as you know, Daniil Medvedev is not only skill, but also mood. The rest of the tennis players this season do not shine with stability at all. Everything will depend solely on the luck and mistakes of the opponents.
But the main intrigue of the entire tournament is whether Spaniard Carlos Alcaras, the first number of the ATP rating, and Novak Djokovic, the three-time winner of the US Open, will be able to meet in the final. And here it is not so much about professionalism and physics in the game, but about endurance, composure and the right attitude. Despite Djokovic’s loss in the Wimbledon final, the Serb’s winning habit remains, especially as he finally arrives in New York this year after his previous ban from the tournament due to his refusal to vaccinate against the coronavirus.
The daring Spanish heir to Rafael Nadal has already spoken out: “At every Grand Slam tournament, I try to win. I have very good memories of last year’s US Open, I want to try again. I will try to forget that I am defending the title, just concentrate on the fight. I want to show my best level. If it works out, I can get a second trophy in New York.”
The Serb also plans to do well in New York. And again become the first racket of the world. And for this he will have to win only one match. And Djokovic will definitely not miss this chance.
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