US Open Tennis Tournament History

The US Open is celebrating its 125th year. It began as an amateur event known as the US National Championships and has become the most profitable tennis tournament on the planet.

Competition expanded from a single men's tournament that entertained the upper class to a tournament that now includes women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles.

In August 1881, the inaugural U.S. National Championships took place in Newport Casino, Newport, R.I. Back then, the tournament was only open to members of the US National Lawn Tennis Association. Newport would remain the country's tennis center for 34 years.

The first official women's national singles championship took place at the Philadelphia Cricket Club in 1887, followed by the women's doubles two years later.

In 1892, the U.S. Mixed Doubles Championship officially started.

All five major US tennis championships were combined into the US Open at theWest Side Tennis Club in Forest Hill, Queens, New York.That year, a prize purse worth $100,000 was offered to 96 male participants and 63 female participants. Currently, $18.5 million is offered by the US Open to over 600 men and women.

In 1968, Black American Arthur Ashe won the first men's final at the U.S. Open, while  Virginia Wade, a British player, claimed the inaugural women's U.S. Open title just five months into her professional career.

Arthur Ashe Stadium was named after the aforementioned men's winner and became the main stadium, which was Louis Armstrong Stadium, now court number 2.

Games have been played on an acrylic hard court since 1978 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York City. The U.S Open  is the fourth and final Grand Slam in professional tennis.

In 2006, Roger Federer bested Andy Roddick to win his third straight US Open title, while Maria Sharapova downed Justine Henine Hardenne in two sets to claim her first US Open women's championship.

Since 1968 American John McEnroe has held the record for most overall wins at the U.S. Open with eight including four singles titles and four doubles titles. Three players have won a record three consecutive singles titles including McEnroe, Czechoslovakian/American Ivan Lendi and Swiss Roger Federer. Federer could break the consecutive mark in 2009 and tie McEnroe for most U.S. Open singles titles.

On the female side, Czech/American Martina Navratilova has won the most titles since '68 with 16 including four singles, nine doubles and three mixed doubles. American Chris Evert has the record for most women's singles titles at six.

Join some 24,000 tennis fanatics at the USTA National Tennis Center this year to catch Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Rafael Nadal, James Blake and Maria Sharapova in their element.