Tennis fans, rejoice! The fourth and final grand slam of 2019, the US Open, is just around the corner. From August 26-Sept 8, New York will buzz with tennis energy. Aside from being the easiest slam for Americans to watch and attend, the tournament attracts a gigantic audience thanks to its festival-style atmosphere, notoriously vocal spectators and, of course, the nail-biting battles between the sport’s very best players. Here are ten facts you need to know about the US Open in the lead-up to the tournament:
- Nearly 700,000 fans will make the journey to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the Open. Tickets start around $70 for a ground pass and increase into the thousands for stadium seating. Coveted seats at the finals cost even more.
- Arthur Ashe stadium, named after the winner of the 1968 inaugural US Open, is the largest tennis-specific stadium in the world, with seating for 23,771 people. That’s more than 8,000 seats bigger than any other stadium in the sport. It debuted in 1997 and cost $254 million to construct.
- Men and women receive equal prize money, a tradition started in 1973 thanks to Billie Jean King threatening to boycott. This made tennis the first sport to award equal prize money to men and women.
- The total payout for this year’s tournament is $42.68 million, the highest of any grand slam. First place takes home $3.85 million. A first-round singles loss pays $58,000 and a second-round loss pays S100,000.
- Since 1978, matches have been played on a hard-court surface covered with Deco turf, a slightly cushioned surface. The courts were made blue in 2007 to increase the contrast between the court and the ball, benefiting players and spectators alike.
- In 1970, the US Open became the first Grand Slam to use a tiebreak, and until last year it remained the only one of the four slams to play a deciding-set tiebreak. Wimbledon and the Australian Open this year followed suit.
- At the US Open in 2001, Venus and Serena Williams became the first sisters to meet in a grand slam final. 22.7 million American television viewers tuned in to witness the sibling rivalry. Venus would win in straight sets.
- In 2006, the US Open became the first Grand Slam to allow players to challenge line calls via the Hawk-Eye system.
- Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer are tied for the most US Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era with five each. Tying for the most women’s singles titles are Chrissie Evert and Serena Williams each with six.
- The official cocktail of the US Open is the Honey Deuce, a refreshing mix of Grey Goose Vodka, lemonade, Chambord and crushed ice topped with a frozen honeydew melon ball garnish.
Let the countdown to the US Open begin!
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