The US Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam of the season, gets underway on August 28th and we take a look at everything that makes Flushing Meadows such a unique venue.
Having been the home of the US Open since 1978, surroundings are modern and tournament organisers are always on the lookout to improve their conditions further.
Below, we take a look at some reasons why the hard-court Grand Slam is one of highlights in the tennis calendar and pick out some of the most successful players to have played at the venue.
|Where||USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York|
|When||Monday, August 28th - Sunday, September 10, 2023|
|How to watch||ESPN|
Men: Novak Djokovic +120, Carlos Alcaraz +175, Daniil Medvedev +900
Women: Iga Swiatek +240, Aryna Sabalenka +400, Coco Gauff +650
When the facility was built in 1978, all 33 courts used the DecoTurf cushioned acrylic surface, as did Court 17, a show court which was added in 2011 and accommodates up to 3000 people. However, in 2020, those court surfaces were replaced by Laykold.
Each August before the start of the tournament, the courts are resurfaced and since 2005 they have been painted a shade of blue which makes it easier for players, spectators and umpires to see the ball.
The facility has 22 of its courts inside its 46-acre surrounding, plus another 12 in the adjoining park.
With the US Open growing in popularity, there were rumours of moving the Grand Slam to a bigger space in San Diego in 1995.
However, that triggered a major upgrade and expansion, which began in March that year, with more land granted to the USTA National Tennis Center.
By August 1997, the US Open welcomed the newly built Arthur Ashe Stadium which replaced the Louis Armstrong Stadium as the main court.
The four-year expansion was completed in 1999 with Arthur Ashe Stadium holding an official capacity of 23,771, while the Louis Armstrong Stadium was downsized from 18,000 spectators to 10,000 and acted as a second main court.
In 2006, work began on a 245,000-square-foot, multi-purpose tennis pavilion. That was completed two years later and now includes 12 courts, fitness facilities and a pro shop, as well as a museum and a hospitality centre.
At the beginning of 2013, the facilities underwent a $550million renovation that included the addition of a retractable roof on the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which was completed in time for the 2017 US Open.
In 2018, the Louis Armstrong Stadium was given a makeover, supplied with its own retractable roof and extended to 14,000 seats.
The grounds of the US Open include 22 outdoor courts, plus 12 practice courts outside the East Gate.
Those consist of four show courts with the 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium the biggest facility at the venue.
The next largest court is the 14,061-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium, which cost $200 US million to build and opened in 2018.
The third largest court is the 8,125-seat Grandstand in the southwest corner of the grounds, which opened in 2016, then follows Court 17 which has a seating capacity of 2,800 and is for general admission and not separately ticketed.
The total seating capacity for Courts four to 16 is 12,656, which shows the interest for Grand Slam tennis in the States.
Each and every court used by the US Open is illuminated, allowing matches and television coverage to extend into primetime.
In the open era there are three men to have won the US Open on five occasions with Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors and Roger Federer all enjoying great success at Flushing Meadows.
Robert Wrenn, John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal have each won it four times, with 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic one of a number of players to have lifted the title on three occasions.
Carlos Alcaraz is the defending champion and the 20-year-old Spanish sensation could eventually put the all-time record of seven under threat.
In the women’s event, American greats Chris Evert and Serena Williams, who won the US Open in three straight years from 2012 to 2014, are the most decorated champions in the open era with six titles.
Margaret Court and Steffi Graf both won it on five occasions, but since Williams’ fifth and final win in 2014, there have been seven different winners from eight finals.
Naomi Osaka, in 2018 and 2020, is the only multiple winner during that period, although defending champion Iga Swiatek will be optimistic about soon adding her name to that list.