History-making US Open umpires hope to inspire next generation

Victoria Chiesa | March 21, 2021

When Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova played for the Wimbledon title in 1984, the chair umpire, the late Georgina Clark, earned her own place in tennis history as the first woman to officiate a women’s singles final at the storied All-England Club.


In the 37 years that have followed that historic event, women have become much more prominent figures in the umpire’s chair at tennis tournaments globally, and in the last two decades, an eye test confirms a further move towards full equality: women are umpiring men’s matches much more frequently.

That said, in that time, only four women have been tasked with overseeing a men’s singles championship at a Grand Slam tournament—three of those at a single event, the US Open. After Sandra de Jenken of France officially broke the glass ceiling in 2007 by umpiring the men’s final at both the Australian and French Opens, three different women — Eva Asderaki-Moore from Greece, Alison Hughes from Great Britain and Louise Azemar Engzell from Sweden — have taken charge of a US Open men’s final: Asderaki-Moore in 2015, Hughes in 2018 and Azemar Engzell in 2020.


In a position where not getting noticed is often the goal, each nonetheless made an important impression in New York, and hope that their presence in the chair will help to open doors for more women to follow in their stead.


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