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US Open Through the Decades: Highlights, Changes, and the Betting Boom

It is the fourth and final tennis major of the year, it completes the Grand Slam and, as it is staged in New York, it has become part of the social and sporting calendar for tennis fans and celebrities alike. Unlike Wimbledon, there is no dress code stipulating that players must wear white, so there have been some eye-catching outfits over the years too.

US Open Tennis

It all takes place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows in the borough of Queens, New York and fans are treated to the very best of the sport on an annual basis. The action traditionally takes place from the second Monday in August for two weeks and anyone who is anyone makes a trip to the stadiums to see the best players in the world.

We are going to take a look at this iconic event, the history of the US Open, how it has changed over the years, and where you can find the best US Open betting sites. It remains one of the most important and prestigious tennis tournaments in the world and New York City seems like the perfect place to round off the Grand Slam season.

Iconic Moments and Matches

The crowds at the US Open are routinely treated to some of the best tennis seen anywhere in the world. Because of that, there have been numerous iconic moments and memorable matches, even just since the tournament was moved to its current home in Flushing Meadows.

Everyone loves a winner with an equally winning personality, so Jimmy Connors making it all the way to the semifinals in 1991 was one particular moment. He had been a brash young man when he won the US Open in 1974. But, at the age of 39, the crowd couldn’t get enough of his unlikely run.

Ranked 174th in the world when the tournament began, Connors only lost out to Jim Courier in the final four – but won the hearts of everyone watching.

It was a different kind of crowd reaction in 1979 that is well remembered by tennis fans. The US Open fans are known for being fairly rowdy at times (Wimbledon, this is not) and they reacted badly to Ilie Nastase’s refusal to carry on playing John McEnroe after a contentious call.

Beer cans, paper cups and other missiles were thrown onto the court before the NYPD intervened and the game was finally completed.

There have been some incredible tennis rivalries played out on the courts of Flushing Meadows and the 1984 women’s final between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova is a perfect example.

These two played each other 80 times between 1973 and 1988, with 60 of those games being finals. That just goes to show the talent these two possessed and how eagerly anticipated their clashes were by the fans. For the record, Navratilova won a classic, 4-6 6-4 6-4.

Changes in Rules, Equipment, and Venues

When a tournament has been running for 142 years it is not surprising that there have been some changes along the way. The current home at the Billie Jean King Training Center has enjoyed the US Open, its players, and its fans, since 1978. But the competition first took place in 1881. Incredibly, it was not affected by WW1, WW2, or even the 2020 COVID pandemic.

The US Open was played at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island until 1914. It was six years until a women’s competition was added to the tournament and even then only clubs recognized by the national tennis federation were allowed to enter.

In 1915 a group of players argued that it would make sense if the US Open were to be moved to New York City. It made the move to Queens, but some competitions were played at other locations, including as far afield as Philadelphia.

The open era began in 1968, when professional players were allowed to compete. As the event grew, it became more popular and the standard improved – including the equipment used. Finally, in 1978 the event was moved to the brand new USTA National Tennis Center, later renamed after the great Billie Jean King.

Tennis Rocket

The Influence of Celebrity and Pop Culture

The US Open has become much more than just a tennis tournament. With all the media coverage and attention, it is now nothing less than a cultural phenomenon in its own right. Celebrities and A-listers want to be seen at the event – and even the tennis players themselves have become stars outside the tennis world as well.

With the recent Hollywood writers and actors’ strikes, the players have become even more the stars of magazines on newsstands across the world. Even with a new generation of players coming through, the attention has been unlike anything before and it has proved that the US Open is the biggest tennis event for celebrities and for pop culture itself.

The Emergence of Online Betting and the Best Sites for the US Open

Another aspect of the US Open that has grown over the last few years is the betting associated with the tournament. Since the US Supreme Court handed over gambling legislation to individual states in 2018, online sports betting has become a (now legal) multi-billion dollar industry.

With its reputation as an elite tennis competition, as well as a hang-out for the biggest personalities and stars, betting on the US Open has exploded. Some of the best sites to check out for your US Open betting include Bovada, MyBookie, and WagerWeb.

The US Open Continues

It looks like the attraction of the US Open for tennis fans and celebrities is not going to die down anytime soon. New York City will always add an extra cachet to any major sporting event and the US Open is now practically a who’s who for sports and pop culture personalities.

What do you think?

Written by Mark Greene

Mark Greene is writer and life coach dedicated to helping men to perform at peak level. He shares dating advice, style tips and strategies for building wealth and success.