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An Open that changes with the times

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The US Open has a long history of marrying tradition with innovation, celebrating the players, moments and championships that have made the event world-renowned, all while remaining at the forefront of the modern game.


By E.J. Crawford, USOpen.org

You never know what fun, new and innovative developments you’ll find each year at the US Open. The tournament has a long and proud history of marrying tradition with innovation, celebrating the players, moments and championships that have made it world-renowned all while remaining at the forefront of the modern game.

The US Open’s first groundbreaking move of the Open era came in 1970 with the introduction of the tiebreak. It was the first Grand Slam event to adopt the breaker, and to this day it remains the only Slam to employ it as the decider in the final set, creating a pressure and a sense of urgency like nothing else in the sport.

The tiebreak gave way three years later to one of the US Open’s most enduring legacies – becoming the first Grand Slam to offer equal prize money to men and women. Not to be outdone, the Open introduced night tennis to Grand Slam play in 1975, and in 1978 it became the first to employ the most egalitarian of surfaces: hard courts. Then, in 2005, the Open challenged the long-held notion that hard courts must be green, changing its surface color to blue to enhance visibility for players, fans and TV viewers.

The following year the US Open utilized technology like never before with the unveiling of electronic line calling. Now called the “Chase Review,” it operates as a challenge system that allows players and fans to see if a disputed call was in or out, with the review shown on the in-stadium video boards.

And just last year the US Open unveiled a social wall so fans could follow all the news, notes and commentary surrounding the event – and making fans part of the conversation as well as part of the action.

Of course, innovation is all about the future. To that end, the US Open is now embarking on a strategic transformation of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center that, by 2018, will deliver a roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, a new Louis Armstrong Stadium, a new Grandstand relocated to the southwest corner of the grounds and, for 2014, redesigned Courts 4, 5 and 6 and a pavilion that will overlook both them and the practice courts – giving fans more chances than ever before to see their favorite stars up close and personal.

It is yet another step in a 133-year history to make the US Open a tournament unlike any other – and a must-see event for fans around the world.

***

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