US Open 2021 - All you need to know: History, prize money, past winners, when and where to watch

Here is all you need to know about the 2021 US Open: full history, most titles, prize money, timings for which will be played between August 30 and September 12.

Austria's Dominic Thiem (L) clinched his maiden Grand Slam title while Japan's Naomi Osaka (R) won her second US Open title at Flushing Meadows in 2020.   -  AFP

The 2021 edition of the US Open is scheduled to be held between August 30 and September 12. Beginning every year on the last Monday of August and continuing for two weeks, US Open is usually the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year.

However, in 2020, US Open was the second Major of the year as Wimbledon got cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic and French Open was held two weeks after the US Open.

With the ease in COVID-19 restrictions, tennis fans are set to be back at the US Open after two years.

READ| US Open spectators need vaccination proof after change in COVID protocol

History:

The governing body of the US Open is the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which was founded as the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association in 1881. That same year, the first men’s singles championship was held at the Newport Casino in Newport, Rhode Island where only those who were members of the club could participate. Richard Sears won the first ever US Open title. Six years later, the first women’s singles championship was held at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in Pennsylvania which was won by Ellen Hansell.

The championship took place in various places such as Mountain Station, New Jersey; Boston Massachusetts; and Forest Hills, New York before finally settling on USTA National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York in 1978. The tennis center’s name was changed to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in 2006 to honour the four-time US Open women’s singles champion and one of the pioneers of the game.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium.   -  USA TODAY Sports

 

As a result of being played in multiple places since its beginning, the US Open has been played on grass (1881-1974), clay (1975-1977) and hard court (1978-present). Interestingly, Jimmy Connors has the distinction of being the only man to win the US Open on all three surfaces while Chris Evert is the only woman to have won the Major on two surfaces.

Main court of the US Open is the Arthur Ashe Stadium which was completed in 1997. With a seat capacity of 23,200, it is the largest tennis-specific stadium in the world.

Prize Money

The total prize money for 2021 US Open is USD 57.5 million, which is slightly more than the USD 57.2 million in 2019. The 2020 edition had a total prize money of USD 53.4 million because of revenues lost due to no fans.

However, the prize money for title winners has taken a dip. Both, the men’s singles and women’s singles champion, will get USD 2.5 million each, down from USD 3 million last year and USD 3.85 million two years ago. Similarly, the prize money for singles runners-up has also been lowered.

How last year’s edition went

The 2020 edition of the US Open was held behind closed doors and the qualifying round was cancelled.

Novak Djokovic checks a linesman after hitting her with a ball in reaction to losing a point to Pablo Carreno Busta, of Spain, during the fourth round of the US Open tennis championships last year.   -  AP

 

In the men’s singles category, the field was depleted due to defending champion Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal because of COVID-19 safety concerns. Five-time US Open champion Roger Federer could not participate because of an injury. In their absence, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic looked set to take the title. However, Djokovic was disqualified when he hit a ball out of frustration during his fourth-round match that went on to hit a line judge on the throat. This blew the competition wide open for a new champion outside the ‘Big Three’. In the final, Austria’s Dominic Thiem came from behind to beat Germany’s Alexander Zverev 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) and won his first Grand Slam title.

READ| Djokovic could face Berrettini, Zverev on US Open final path

In the women’s singles category, similar to their male counterparts, defending champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada didn’t participate due to Covid-19 safety concerns. Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Elina Svitolina too weren’t there. Former champion Naomi Osaka won the title after beating Victoria Azarenka, 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final. What also caught everyone’s attention was the masks that Osaka wore during the tournament. Extending her support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests against George Floyd’s death, Osaka wore a black mask with the name of an African-American who died due to police brutality in each of her seven matches.

Storylines for this year

The biggest storyline for this year’s US Open will be whether world number one Novak Djokovic can win the title that’ll see him overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to become the most decorated man in the history of tennis. Currently, the ‘Big Three’ are tied at 20 Grand Slams each. Federer, Nadal and defending champion Thiem have all pulled out of this year’s edition due to injuries.

Djokovic also has the rare opportunity of completing the Calendar Slam after clinching the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles this year. His biggest test could be a possible semifinal clash against Germany’s Alexander Zverev who shocked everyone by defeating the Serbian on his way to gold medal at Tokyo Olympics. Zverev is in great form after capturing the recent Cincinnati Open.

In the women’s singles category, the field will miss the Williams sisters after both pulled out of the tournament due to injuries. However, there will still be plenty to look forward to as the previous three Grand Slams this year have seen three different winners - Naomi Osaka (Australian Open), Barbora Krejcikova (French Open) and Ashleigh Barty (Wimbledon). Osaka will be back to Grand Slam action for the first time after withdrawing from French Open and skipping Wimbledon this year to focus on her mental health.

Oldest and youngest winners

Youngest Men’s Singles Champion – Pete Sampras (1990) at the age of 19 years and 28 days

Youngest Women’s Singles Champion – Tracy Austin (1979) at the age of 16 years, 8 months and 28 days

Oldest Men’s Singles Champion – William Larned (1911) at the age of 38 years, 8 months and 3 days

Oldest Women’s Singles Champion – Molla Bjurstedt Mallory (1926) at the age of 42 years, 5 months and 27 days

READ| US Open champions to get lowest payout since 2012, total prizes up

Famous Firsts for the US Open

  • First Grand Slam to award equal prize money to men’s and women’s singles champion
  • First Grand Slam to make the concept of Shot Clock to keep a check on the time taken by players between points applicable
  • Althea Gibson became the first African-American to compete at the US Open in 1950

Most successful players at the US Open

Men’s Singles

Bill Tilden: 7 titles (1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929)

Bill Larned: 7 titles (1901, 1902, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1911)

Richard Sears: 7 titles (1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887)

Roger Federer: 5 titles (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

Pete Sampras: 5 titles (1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 2002)

Jimmy Connors: 5 titles (1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983)

 

Women’s Singles

Molla Bjurstedt Mallory: 8 titles (1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1926)

Helen Wills: 7 titles (1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931)

Chris Evert: 6 titles (1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982)

Serena Williams: 6 titles (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Steffi Graf: 5 titles (1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996)

READ| Osaka could meet Sabalenka, Barty face Pliskova in US Open semis

Where to watch

In India, viewers will be able to watch the live telecast of the matches on the Star Sports Select 1 HD and Star Sports Select 2 HD and stream the same live on Disney+Hotstar.

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