The venues and court surfaces of the US Open tennis tournament has changed several times since the first events in 1881. The change in venue was due to the increase in participants and to more events, such as doubles and mixed doubles, being added to the tournament. The court surface changed to accommodate the players and for ease of maintenance.
The US Open tennis tournament got its start in the 1800s. Prior to 1968, the men's events were held in Rhode Island at the Newport Casino. It was known as the US National Singles Championship for men. In 1887 the US Women's National Singles Championship began, with the events played at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. In 1968 the events were combined into what is now called the US Open.
Both the US National Singles Championship for men in Rhode Island and the US National Singles Championship for women in Philadelphia were played on grass courts. In 1915 the tournament outgrew the Newport Casino venue and was moved to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, N.Y., however grass remained the court surface of the tournament.
Throughout the years, tennis players criticized how the ball bounced on the grass courts of the West Side Tennis Club. In response to their concerns, the court surface was changed to Har-Tru clay courts for the 1975 US Open tournament. Har-Tru is a green clay made from a gray-green crushed stone.
DecoTurf II Surface
In 1978, the US Open tennis tournament changed venues again and moved to Flushing Meadows, N.Y., where it continues to be held as of 2010. The courts were changed to a hard court surface called DecoTurf II. This is a durable hard court surface and the fairest surface for playing tennis because of its consistent speed of play. In 2005, the color of the color surface was changed. The inner court was changed to blue with the surrounding outer court a green color. It is believed that this color scheme makes it easier for players, fans and television viewers to track the ball.
Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won the US Open championship on all three surfaces. He won on grass in 1974, on clay (Har-Tru) in 1976 and on hard court (DecoTurf II) in 1978. Chris Evert in the only woman to win the US Open championship on clay, having won in all of the three years--1975 to 1977--it was played on Har-Tru.
- Photo Credit Tennis Court image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com
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