Once known as the U.S. National Championships, the US Open originated as a single men's tournament held solely for entertainment purposes back in 1881. Not long after, women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles also became a part of the growing annual tradition. When the five major championships were consolidated in 1968, it marked the beginning of the Open Era at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y. Now in Flushing Meadows and celebrating its 123rd year, the event has emerged into the richest professional tennis event in the world open to amateurs and professionals.
The US Open Championships
For two weeks each Summer, New York City is undeniably the "capital of the tennis world." Each year, more than half a million fans witness the excitement of US Open tennis live at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York.
1881 The first U.S. National Championship for men is held at the Newport Casino, Newport, RI. Richard Sears dominates the field, winning the tournament without losing a set. Clarence Clark and W.F. Taylor claim the first U.S. National Doubles Championship.
1887 The U.S. Women's National Singles Championship makes its official premiere at the Philadelphia Cricket Club as Ellen Hansell claims the victory.
1889 The Philadelphia Cricket Club hosts the first U.S. Women's National Doubles Championship.
1892 The first U.S. National Mixed Doubles Championship is played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.
1915 New York City becomes the host of the U.S. National Men's Singles Championship as the tournament moves from Newport to the West Side Tennis Club at Forest Hills, New York.
1921 The U.S. Men's Singles Championships are played at the Germantown Cricket Club in Philadelphia, PA.
1924 The U.S. Men's Singles Championships return to Forest Hills, New York.
1957 Althea Gibson becomes the first African-American to win the U.S. National Women's Singles Championship. She returns to repeat as Champion in 1958.
1968 New York City becomes the home of the U.S. Open as the advent of the professional era in tennis consolidates all five major national championships in Forest Hills, New York. Arthur Ashe defeats Tom Okker in five sets to become the first African- American man to win a Grand Slam singles title.
1975 The first night matches are played at the U.S. Open and the tournament temporarily switches playing surfaces to clay.
1978 The U.S. Open moves to the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. The tournament abandons the clay surfaces in a switch to hard courts.
1979 Two New Yorkers, John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis, advance to the finals. McEnroe is victorious, claiming his first of four U.S. Open titles.
1987 Martina Navratilova is dominant in capturing three U.S.Open titles (Women's Singles, Women's Doubles, and Mixed Doubles).
1988 Steffi Graf completes the first Grand Slam in tennis since Margaret Court accomplished the feat in 1970.
1990 Pete Sampras becomes the youngest U.S. Open men's singles champion at the age of 19 years and 28 days.
1994 Andre Agassi, ranked 20th in the world entering the tournament, becomes the first unseeded player in the U.S. Open to win the men's title.
1997 Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest tennis stadium in the world, opens to capacity crowds filling the 23,000 seat stadium.
1999 Serena Williams becomes the first African-American woman to win the US Open since Althea Gibson accomplished the feat in 1957.
2003 Pete Sampras, winner of 14 career Grand Slam Singles titles and 5 US Open men's singles championships, announces his retirement from tennis.