5 Reasons Why the US Open Is Unique Among Grand Slams

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The US Open may be the last Grand Slam tournament of the year but there are a number of reasons which make it so special.

Arthur Ashe Stadium

Sitting fourth and last in the Grand Slam calendar, the US Open has its own uniqueness and it is easy to see why the Flushing Meadows extravaganza goes down so well with the tennis world.

Biggest Stadium

When it comes to the USA, bigger is often seen as better! The US Open certainly has this with the Arthur Ashe Stadium – the largest in tennis with a capacity of 23,771 that creates an atmosphere like no other.

Speaking to The Telegraph in 2018, Greg Rusedski, who reached the 1997 US Open final in the inaugural year of the Arthur Ashe Stadium, spoke about the main show court.

He said: “Ashe looks like it never ends. I went to the top of the stands and looked down. It seems like you’re playing a video game because the court appears so small so high up. It’s quite incredible.”

Opening Ceremony

Unlike the other three Grand Slams, the US Open has a megastar perform on the first evening of the tournament at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, with Phil Collins and Shania Twain two that stepped up in recent years.

In 2021, with fans back after the coronavirus pandemic, the cast of the Tony-nominated hit Broadway musical “Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” led by the show’s stars, Tony Award nominee Aaron Tveit and Natalie Mendoza, headlined the Opening Night Ceremony.

I have to say, the US Open headliners certainly beat Cliff Richard singing at Wimbledon before the roof was installed at center court. Sorry, Cliff!

Carnival Atmosphere

When you go to somewhere like Wimbledon, there is a good atmosphere, but there is also quite a polite feel about things and spectators give rapturous, short applauses for fantastic rallies. If you shout out in the crowd, expect a sharp shush to bring things back down to a certain level.

At the US Open, it is very different. Surrounding the main courts, fans can sample a host of street-food trucks, shops, ice-cold beers at the bars and sponsor engagements with prizes on offer.

Delving into Rusedski’s interview from 2018 when speaking about the outside courts, he said: “If you’re stuck on an outside court, then good luck. It’s like a completely different tournament.

“You have the music blaring out, hamburger and hot dogs stands wafting across court. It makes you perpetually hungry, but also it makes it vital to retain focus. Everything is moving and booming.”

Standard Tie-Breaks for Each Set

The US Open is the only Grand Slam that employs standard 12-point tiebreaks (first to 7, win by 2), in every set of a singles match.

In the French Open, the decisive set (fifth for men and third for women) continues until a player takes a two-game lead, while there is an extended tiebreaker to 10 points used in the Australian Open.

As for Wimbledon, a standard 12-point tiebreaker is played only if the game score reaches 12-12 in the deciding set.

Using the same system for every set certainly makes the US Open a simpler and quicker tournament than the other three.

Trying Out Each Surface

While Wimbledon (grass) and French Open (clay) have been played on the same surface, and the Australian Open has been played on two – on grass until 1987 before switching to hard courts in 1988 – the US Open has actually been played on all three surfaces.

The tournament was originally played on grass courts with a change to clay in 1975. A switch again happened in 1978, this time to hard court, which is its current playing surface.

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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