by Ria Santhanam & Olivia Whitaker
graphic by Collage Club
Every year at the end of August, tennis fans sit in front of their televisions to witness two action-packed weeks of elite tennis. Taking place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, the US Open is one of the most important and prestigious tennis tournaments of the year, hosting 128 international female and male tennis players.
This year, attendance at the US Open soared, increasing by nearly 8% above 2022’s tournament with 799,402 people in attendance during the main draw. This year’s US Open had many exciting storylines, such as Novak Djokovic (Serbia) winning his 24th Grand Slam title, Ben Shelton (USA) reaching the semifinals and Coco Gauff (USA) achieving her first Grand Slam title.
36-year-old Djokovic, the men’s singles champion, reclaimed his spot as world number one by winning the final over Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in three sets. With his 24th Grand Slam title, he is now tied with Margaret Court for the record of the most Grand Slam titles. This was his fourth time winning the US Open, tying Rafael Nadal and pulling within one win of Roger Federer, two of the other all-time greats of the tennis world.
21-year-old Shelton reached new heights at the US Open, creating one of the most exciting narratives of the tournament. He reached the semifinals and only lost to eventual champion Djokovic in three sets. Although Shelton didn’t win a set in the match, he was able to take the third set to a tiebreaker and played well.
Shelton’s rapid rise included wins over world number 10 Frances Tiafoe and world number 14 Tommy Paul. Four out of the five matches he won were in only four sets. Since men at Grand Slams play best out of five sets, this means he glided through most of his matches quickly and without stress. Although his run during the tournament was unexpected, the fact that he set a record for the fastest serve of the tournament proves that his success was far from an accident.
While the men’s portion of the US Open ended as one of the most iconic yet, the women’s side also had incredible moments. 19-year-old Gauff won her first major Grand Slam. Gauff’s first US Open win put her in elite company and made her the youngest American to win the tournament since 17-year-old Serena Williams’ historic 1999 victory.
Gauff won six major Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour singles awards this year and claimed her three biggest titles in August. Her victory catapulted her to a new career high, moving from number six in the world to number three.
Although she played in the French Open final last year, Gauff has spoken about the extreme pressure she has felt to win a slam at a young age since her WTA debut at 15.
It wasn’t an easy final for Gauff, as she was up against new number-one and Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka. The thrilling final was full of ups and downs, going to a deciding set and lasting 2 hours and 7 minutes. The match was viewed by 3.4 million viewers on ESPN, the largest ever TV audience for a women’s tennis Grand Slam final on the network.
50 years ago, former number one ranked tennis female player Billie Jean King won the monumental “Battle of the Sexes” when she defeated formerly first ranked Bobby Riggs. King’s victory was a major step in the journey for equal pay and women’s rights in sports and her impact is still paying off today for this generation of women athletes.
Both the male and female winners of this year’s tournament received $3 million, while the runners-up both received $1.5 million. With the historic achievement of equal prize money, the tennis world is making many strides for the future, and the fact that there are so many up-and-coming players makes it an exciting time for the next wave of tennis fans.