This year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament marks the 141th edition of the prestigious sporting event. It’s the fourth and final competition in the Grand Slam tour that began in January with the Australian Open, followed by the French Open in late May to early June, and Wimbledon in late June to early July.
Over that century-plus, several players have won the prestigious U.S. Open more than once, a feat that no doubt vaults them among the 40 most successful athletes of the 21st century.
By the time the tournament ends on Sept. 12, a men’s singles champion will be crowned. This year, however, it won’t be one of the multiple winners from recent years. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer withdrew from the competition due to injuries, marking the first time since the 1997 Australian Open that those tennis mega-stars didn’t battle in a Grand Slam event. Their absence may give three-time champion Novak Djokovic a shot at a fourth trophy — and the $2.5 million first-place prize. (See where that ranks among the 100 highest paid athletes in America.)
Although the U.S. Open is famously associated with New York City, the first competition was played in Newport, Rhode Island in 1881. It was held there until 1914 when it switched to the West Side Tennis Club, in Queens, New York. In 1978, the event moved to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, also in Queens.
Whoever wins the 2021 U.S. Open will be cheered on by a live audience. Because of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020, the bleachers were empty during the matches. But attendees will have to show proof of at least one vaccine to watch the volleys.
And there will be many onlookers. According to Tennis Connected, 720,000 fans will watch from the stands, making it the single-highest attended sporting event in the world.
To determine the men with the most U.S. Open victories, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the tournament’s list of men’s singles champions, dating all the way back to 1881.