The long and amazing story of the US Open

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The long and amazing story of the US Open

The organization of the US Open 2020 has long been troubled because of the global Covid-19 pandemic that has plagued the world, and the US very severely. This year between safety protocols and very important absences, such as that of Rafael Nadal, the New York Slam will experience one of the most atypical seasons of its long history.

And speaking of history, since 1881 passed 139 years. The United States came from the Civil War between North and South, but meanwhile the National Lawn Tennis Association was created in 1881. Some years later it became the USTA.

On 1881 August 31st the association organized the first edition of the U.S. National Championships, in Newport, Rhode Island. Richard Sears won the first event beating William Glyn in the final. After that victory he hold the title for six times!

In the first three decades of the twentieth century, there were the legendaries of Bill Tilden and those of the French Musketeers Jean Borotra, Henri Cochet, Rene Lacoste and Jacques Brugnon, followed by the Briton Fred Perry.

The American stars signed the years after; Don Budge, Elizabeth Ryan, Bobby Riggs and Helen Wills Moody. After the II World War ther was before a US dominion and then the Australian hegemony. With the advent of the Open Era, Arthur Ashe was the first victory of an African-American tennis player in the unforgettable final against Tom Okker.

From Forest Hill to Flushing Meadows and from grass to hard-courts

The change of surface was one of the most important momenti of the American Slam; from 1881 until 1974 (ninety-three years), the US Open was played on grass-courts.

From grass, the tournament passed for two years (1975-1977) to the green clay-courts. It was since the edition of 1978 that the New York Slam was played on hard-courts. The historical changeover from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows was preceded by the achievements of Rod Laver, Billy Jane King, Margaret Smith, Ilie Nastase, Evonne Goolagong, Virginia Wade, John Newcombe and Ken Roswell.

Between the 1970s and 1980s tennis lived another golden age, thanks to champions like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Boris Becker, who challenged each other on the Flushing Meadows hard-courts.

The rivalries between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras and the one between Monica Seles and Steffi Graf characterized the 1990s. The new millennium saw the advent of the Big Three: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, while in the women's singles as Serena Williams, her sister Venus and Maria Sharapova.

Among these giants, there was some amazing surprises, like Juan Martin of Potro's victory in 2009, Andy Murray's win in 2012, the 2014 final between Marin Cilic and Kei Nishikori or the all-Italian final between Flavia Pennetta and Roberta Vinci, in 2015.

From 2016 the new retractable roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium is the latest technological marvel of a constantly evolving tournament, which always tries to maintain the high technological and organizational level of the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka are the defending champion of this seaso; all their rivals are ready to take their thones. This season, with all the safety protocols we will see a new atypical event.