USTA to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Open Era at the 2008 US Open

August 13, 2008

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — The USTA today announced that the 2008 US Open will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of tennis’ Open Era. The US Open’s Opening Night on August 25 will launch the celebration with an on-court ceremony highlighting the 40 US Open singles champions in the 40 years since 1968. Throughout the tournament, the US Open will feature additional celebrations and special tributes to past champions. To mark this historic anniversary, the USTA has also produced a commemorative coffee table book, collectible coins, a vintage clothing line, and a dedicated 40th Anniversary website.

The US Open and the city of New York share a special relationship that dates back to 1915, when the West Side Tennis Club first hosted the men’s singles U.S. National Championships, a precursor to the modern-day US Open. Until 1968, the U.S. National Championships was strictly limited to amateurs but forty years ago, the tournament became “open” to both professionals and amateurs and the name changed from the U.S. Championships to the US Open.

The size and scope of the US Open continues to expand and develop each year. A total of $100,000 was offered by the USTA to the field of 96 men and 64 women who entered the men’s and women’s singles and doubles events at the 1968 US Open. In 1973, the US Open became the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to men and women. Today, US Open prize money exceeds $20 million and features more than 600 men and women, including qualifying.

“The 2008 US Open will pay tribute to one of the most significant milestones in the history of tennis — the birth of the Open Era,” said Jane Brown-Grimes, President and Chairman of the Board, USTA. “By allowing both professionals and amateurs to compete together, the Open Era transformed the sport, creating a platform to elevate the sport’s popularity and grow the game on every level.”

“We will be launching a two-week celebration of this historic occasion with what is sure to be an unforgettable Opening Night,” said Arlen Kantarian, Chief Executive Officer, Pro Tennis, USTA. “The 40th anniversary gives us the opportunity to honor the tournament’s rich history and the game’s greatest champions — past and present — all of whom have played a substantial role in making the US Open one of the world’s most celebrated sporting events.”

Special Celebrations and Programs

US Open Historical Highlights from the Open Era

40 Champions in 40 Years

Below are the US Open champions in alphabetical order with their Open Era championship year(s):