US Open 101: Your Guide to the Game

If you’ve been watching or playing Tennis for any amount of time, chances are you’ve heard of the U.S. Open. Held annually, starting on the last Monday in August, this hard-court tournament kicks off today. You may not be entirely educated on the game of tennis or the big tournaments that fans of the sport look forward to watching each year, but if you are finding yourself increasingly invested in the game, now is the perfect time to learn more.

What is the U.S. Open?

The U.S. Open is the final of four major tournaments that make up Tennis’s annual Grand Slam. The Australian Open, French Open, and the Wimbledon Championships, make up the other three. Held over a two-week period at the end of August, the tournaments take place at the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, Queens New York on acrylic hard courts.

Photo via Archinect

Comprised of five championships in the categories of men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles, the U.S. Open is unique in that it uses tiebreakers in deciding sets. Typically competitors will continue to play until one side has won by two games.

In addition to the five aforementioned categories, there are now additional tournaments for senior, junior, and wheelchair players of tennis.

The History 

The U.S. Open evolved out of the U.S. National Championship, which was established in 1881 as a national men’s singles and doubles competition. Initially, the event was only open to members of the USTA (then referred to as the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association). In 1887 it expanded to include women’s singles and then in 1889 it included women’s doubles. The mixed doubles competition was added in 1892.

Prior to 1968, the five championships were held at separate locations. That year they finally found a common playing ground at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens New York and became known as the U.S. Open. Over the years the tournaments have been held on a variety of surfaces including grass, clay and DecoTurf. The court surfaces are currently made of a hard acrylic layer over a concrete or asphalt base.

Who to Look Out For

If your tennis buddies are getting geared up for the U.S. Open, eager to root for their favorite competitors, and you feel like you are in the dark regarding who’s who, we’ve got the run down on who to keep your eye on.

Wimbledon men’s champion Novak Djokovic is being given the best odds for the win this year, but don’t take your eye off of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, or Alexander Zverev – all look promising.

Women’s runner up Serena Williams is also favored to win, but Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Sloane Stephens, and Garbine Muguruze could surprise.

Sloane Stephens at 2017 Citi Open

If you really want to impress your tennis buddies or just want a fun activity to do with the kids. Take some time to look up your favorite players and get acquainted with their unique tennis story. It will make following the games all that more interesting, and chances are, these are players that will come up again and again in the future. They also make great mentors for your young athletes.

Follow along with all US Open live score updates here!