The US Open is the fourth and final tennis major comprising the Grand Slam each year; the other three are the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. It is held annually in late August and early September over a two-week period.
Since 1978, the tournament has been played on acrylic hard courts at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at New York City, New York. In 1970, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to use a tiebreak to decide a set that reached a 6–6 score in games and is the only major to use a tiebreak in the deciding set. Total prize money for 2013 is $29.5 million. This is an 34 percent increase over 2011 for men's and women's main draw singles. In 1973, the US Open became the first Grand Slam tournament to award equal prize money to men and women with that year's singles champions John Newcombe and Margaret Court both receiving $25,000. The US Open is owned and organized by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).<br><br> Net proceeds from high ticket prices are used to promote the development of tennis in the United States as the USTA is a not-for-profit organization. Arthur Ashe stadium, named after the African-American tennis player who won the inaugural US Open in 1968, is the largest tennis arena in the world, seating 23,500. In 2006, the USTA National Tennis Center facility, home of the US Open, was renamed the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The tournament has been held at nine different venues during its history. It was first staged at the Newport Casino in Rhode Island and the women’s at the Philadelphia Cricket Club. <br><br>In 1915, the tournament moved to Forest Hills, New York, which remained its permanent base until 1978 when Flushing Meadows became its present day home. <br><br> In Picture: Virginia Wade hits a return during the Women's 1977 US Open Tennis Championships at Forest Hills. The open era for the US Open began in 1968; the tournament was held at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. <br><br> The 1968 combined tournament was open to professionals for the first time. That year, 96 men and 63 women entered the event, and prize money totalled $100,000. <br><br> In Picture: Arthur Ashe (1943 - 1993) holds up his trophy after winning the first ever US Open as his opponent Tom Okker of the Netherlands looks on. Jimmy Connors is the only player to have won US Open singles titles on all three surfaces (grass, clay, hardcourt), while Chris Evert is the only woman to win on two surfaces (clay, hardcourt). In 2006, the US Open introduced instant replay reviews of calls, using the Hawk-Eye computer system. Each player is allowed three challenges per set plus one additional challenge during a tiebreak. <br><br> In Picture: Roger Federer watches a review during his semifinal match against Novak Djokovic on Day 13 of the 2008 US Open. The DecoTurf surface at the US Open is a fast surface, having slightly less friction and producing a lower bounce compared to other hard courts (most notably the Rebound Ace surface formerly used at the Australian Open). All the courts used by the US Open have floodlights, which means that television coverage of the tournament can extend into prime time to attract higher ratings. In 2005, all US Open (and US Open Series) tennis courts were given blue inner courts to make it easier to see the ball on television; the outer courts remained green. Richard Sears, Bill Larned and Bill Tilden with seven titles each hold the record for most Men's Singles titles won in the pre-Open era. <br><br> In the post-Open era (after 1967), the record is jointly held by Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, who have each won five titles. Bill Tilden, who won 16 titles (7 singles, 5 men's doubles, 4 mixed doubles) from 1913-1929 holds the record for a male player as winner of most Championships in the pre-Open era. John McEnroe (4 singles, 4 men's doubles) and Bob Bryan (4 men's doubles, 4 mixed doubles) have won the most titles in the US Open in the Open era. Molla Bjurstedt Mallory with eight titles holds the record for most Women's Singles titles in the pre-Open era. <br><br> The record in the post-Open era is held by Chris Evert, who won six Women's singles titles. Margaret Osborne duPont, who won 25 championships (3 singles, 13 women's doubles, 9 mixed doubles) from 1941-1960, is the winner of most championships in the pre-Open era. <br><br> In Picture: Margaret Osborne duPont (second from Left). Martina Navratilova with 16 US Open championships (4 singles, 9 women's doubles, 3 mixed doubles), holds the record for most championships won by a woman player in the post-Open era.