2023 US Open tennis preview
📗 The history
Established in 1881, the US Open was originally only open to members of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USNLTA, now USTA) and began exclusively as a men’s singles and doubles tournament.
- Fortunately, women didn't have to wait too long as a singles tournament was introduced in 1887, followed by doubles in 1889.
However, it wasn’t until 1950 that Althea Gibson became the first Black tennis player to enter the championship, overcoming many obstacles to get there. She went on to win the tourney in 1957 and ’58.
- Gibson paved the way for civil rights leader and legendary athlete Arthur Ashe (the namesake of the US Open’s main stadium), who in 1968 became the first player to win the competition in the “Open Era” — when amateurs and pros could compete against each other. Trailblazers.
✔️ The details
SOURCE: ESSENTIALLY SPORTS
The US Open features 128 women’s and men’s singles players competing across seven single-elimination rounds. And they’re all hoping to advance to mid-September — the women’s final is set for September 9th, followed by the men’s on September 10th.
- As for doubles, there’ll be 64 women’s and men’s pairs in action, along with 32 mixed doubles contenders. Prepare your split screen.
Let’s talk about prize money. Both the women’s and men’s singles winners will walk away with a cool $3M, part of a record $65M pot, up from last year’s then–record-breaking sum of $60.1M.
- And we can’t talk cash without shouting out the one and only Billie Jean King. The legend threatened to boycott the 1973 US Open due to the disparity in women’s and men’s earnings, leading the USTA to award equal prize money that same year.
💪 Women to watch
SOURCE: US OPEN
🇵🇱 World No. 1 Iga Świątek: The reigning US Open champ, Świątek hasn’t been quite her dominant self as of late, including surprisingly being ousted in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in July. That said, last year she was in a similar down stretch and bounced back to win the Grand Slam. Do you get déjà vu?
🎖 World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka: It’s been a banner year for Sabalenka, who hoisted her first Grand Slam trophy at January’s Australian Open and then went on to reach the semis at the following two Slams. Plus, the 25-year-old will have extra motivation heading into the Open — if she matches or betters Świątek’s finish, she’ll take over the world No. 1 spot.
🇹🇳 World No. 5 Ons Jabeur: Speaking of motivation, Jabeur will be more than hungry to finally grab that elusive first Grand Slam trophy. The 2022 US Open runner-up is coming off “the most painful” loss of her career at the Wimbledon finals but has taken some time to reflect, prepare and respond. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, right?
🇺🇲 World No. 6 Coco Gauff: The fan favorite American is rolling into NYC with plenty of momentum after winning the Citi Open earlier this month and last week’s Cincinnati Masters (where she notably beat Świątek in the semis). At only 19, the TikTok star looks poised to dance her way to her first Grand Slam.
👀 Men to watch
SOURCE: AL BELLO/GETTY IMAGES
🇪🇸 World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz: Already a rising star, the 20-year-old transformed into a household name during last year’s awe-inspiring US Open title run. And he’s been impressing ever since, most recently adding a Wimbledon trophy to his hardware collection and fueling a generational rivalry in the process…
🇷🇸 World No. 2 Novak Djokovic: Which brings us to the Joker, who’s back in action in NYC after missing last year’s tourney for being unvaxxed. After losing to Alcaraz in July’s Wimbledon finals, Djokovic is still searching for his record-tying 24th Grand Slam.
🎖 World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev: The hardcourt aficionado and 2021 US Open champ has stumbled in the leadup to this year’s event, suffering early losses at two recent tune-up tourneys. But he still has the best odds to prevent an Alcaraz vs. Djokovic final and certainly knows how to play spoiler.
🇺🇲 World No. 10 Frances Tiafoe: They say if you can make it in NYC, you can make it anywhere, and Tiafoe proved that with his Cinderella run last year. The 25-year-old became the first Black American man to reach the US Open semis since 2006, captivating a nation along the way. Let’s see what he can bring this time around.
📺 How to tune in
SOURCE: NBC NEW YORK
Tennis’ season finale begins tomorrow on ESPN in the U.S. and TSN in Canada, and, as mentioned, will run through the women’s final on September 9th, followed by the men’s on September 10th. It’s been waiting for you…