Melbourne, Australia, 23 August 2013 |

With the US Open main draw beginning on Monday, we take a look at the 10 biggest moments in the tournament’s Open Era history.

10. Equal prize money announced in 1973

The US Open became the first major tournament in history to award equal prize money to male and female players, blazing the trail for the other majors way back in 1973. That year, the tournament was won by a pair of Australians in John Newcombe and Margaret Court, who each pocketed $25,000 for their victories. The equal prize money announcement coincided with the year of the formation of the WTA Tour, founded by Billie Jean King; the USTA named the National Tennis Centre at Flushing Meadows in honour of King in 2006.

9. Arthur Ashe Stadium opened in 1997

The USTA unveiled the enormous Arthur Ashe Stadium as the centrepiece of its National Tennis Centre in 1997, an arena with a capacity of more than 23,000. To this day, it remains the world’s largest tennis-specific stadium.
US Open

8. Serena’s foot-fault outburst of 2009

In an extraordinary, and high-quality, semifinal between two of the heavyweights of the women’s game, Serena Williams became rattled after being called for a second-serve foot-fault when serving to stay in the match against Kim Clijsters. Williams’ subsequent tirade directed toward the lineswoman who made the call earned her a point penalty – which came on match point, thus ending the contest – and saw her slapped with an all-time record fine of $82,500.

7. Introduction of the tiebreak in 1970

The US Open became the first Grand Slam event to adopt a tiebreak when set scores reached 6-6. The tournament used a nine-point breaker for five years before adopting the ITF 12-point tiebreak system in 1975. The US Open is the only Grand Slam tournament that uses a tiebreak in the fifth set; the other majors use the advantage fifth-set scoring system.

6. Rod Laver wins Grand Slam in 1969

Australian Rod Laver created incredible tennis history when, in 1969, he won the calendar-year Grand Slam for a second time with his triumph in the US Open final over Tony Roche on grass at Forest Hills. Laver is the only player in history to have captured two Grand Slams, and last male to do so.

5. Steffi Graf wins Grand Slam in 1988

Almost 20 years later, Steffi Graf emulated Laver, but did so on the hard courts Flushing Meadows. Graf’s three-set victory over Gabriela Sabatini in the final in New York completed a remarkable season for the 19-year-old German, who shortly after went on to capture Olympic gold in Seoul to complete the only ever calendar-year Golden Slam. Graf is the last player, male or female, to win the coveted Grand Slam.

4. Multimillion-dollar redevelopment announced in 2013

After five straight years of the Open being pushed to a third Monday due to inclement weather, the USTA announced in August 2013 a $550 million redevelopment of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre, featuring a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium projected to cost more than $100 million. The roof is expected to be completed in time for the 2017 tournament.

3. Super Saturday, 1984

Super Saturday was a US Open innovation in which the women’s final was sandwiched between the men’s semifinals on the second Saturday of the tournament, a tennis feast for spectators and television audiences. Described on as “arguably the single greatest day in tennis history”, four matches scheduled for centre court – beginning with a senior men’s semi between Stan Smith and John Newcombe – extended for their full amount of sets. Ivan Lendl saved a match point to oust Pat Cash in the first men’s semi, before Martina Navratilova pipped Chris Evert in a thrilling women’s final. John McEnroe then ended the day’s play at 11.14pm with an epic five-set victory over rival Jimmy Connors, more than 12 hours after play began.
> watch Lendl v Cash

2. Williams sisters reach 2001 US Open final

The format of Super Saturday changed in 2001 when the women’s final, previously contested in the afternoon, was re-scheduled for prime time on Saturday night, a Grand Slam first. The move came in response to the rise in popularity of women’s tennis, and proved a canny one; that year happened to feature the first ever all-Williams Grand Slam final. Almost 23 million people US viewers tuned into the match to see Venus defeat Serena 6-2 6-4.

1. Pete Sampras retires after winning 2002 US Open

Never before has such a great player gone out on such a high note. With his victory over Andre Agassi in the final of the 2002 US Open – giving him a then-record 14th Grand Slam title – Pete Sampras announced that it would be his last match. The victory marked a stunning comeback; Sampras was seeded a lowly 17th, had been defeated in the second round at Wimbledon just weeks earlier, and had been widely written-off by tennis pundits. Winning a final major at his home Grand Slam proved the perfect way to end a celebrated career.