U.S. Open – First Major to Be Played on Hard Courts

US Open pic
US Open
Image: forbes.com

Daniel Hewes, an urban planning graduate of Columbia University, is an avid tennis fan. Daniel Hewes has played tennis since a young age and enjoys attending the U.S. Open in New York every summer.

A decade after hosting the richest tennis tournament in the history of the sport, the U.S. Open once again made history by holding the first major competition on a surface other than grass or clay. In 1978, the United States Tennis Association opted to distinguish their event from the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon by embracing a relatively new surface, Deco Turf II.

Bjorn Borg and Bob Hewitt played the first match in Stadium Court in Flushing Meadows, New York, on the evening of August 29. Borg progressed to the finals, where he fell to American Jimmy Connors. Connors was contesting his fifth consecutive U.S. Open final and, with that victory, became the only man to win the U.S. Open on grass, clay, and hard courts.

On the women’s side of the tournament, 16-year-old Pam Shriver was one of the first players to use an oversized racket and succeeded in reaching the finals, where she faced fellow American Chris Evert. The shift from clay to hard court did not trouble Evert, who overwhelmed the younger Shriver to win her fourth consecutive U.S. Open title.

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