I see the same scenario every year. There is so much hype surrounding the US Open that the tension builds. All eyes are turned to New York and it seems that anything less than an 80-78 5th set match seems to disappoint. I’ll be the first to say that I myself love the U.S. Open… but not that much. In my opinion not only is it not the best, but it’s not even the second best Slam.
The first reason why the Open isn’t the best slam is the history. The prestige and historical significance is not the same as at Wimbledon or Roland Garros. Wimbledon and the French Open are both older, and hold more historical significance than the US Open. Many people of older generations have their careers judged primarily on how they did at Wimbledon, because that was the marquee tournament of that era. Even in the Open era, winning Wimbledon or the French Open still hold more significant value than the US Open. Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal are not judged by how many US Opens they win, they are judged by Wimbledon or the French Open.
The second reason is the surface. Playing on a hard court simply does not hold the same significance as playing on grass or clay. Wimbledon and grass is the gentleman’s game. The grass seems as if kings should be playing on it, and the all white dress only adds to the atmosphere. The clay holds a completely different, but equally as important connotation. These are the court of champions. Roland Garros is where warriors prove themselves in 5 hour matches, and where fitness comes into play. The red clay only magnifies this image. When I think of Roland Garros, I think of a tennis player covered in the red brick dust, who is giving every last bit of energy he has to get to the next ball. The same can’t be said about New York.
Another reason why the US Open isn’t the best is the atmosphere. Many people think that New York is the best place to watch a tennis tournament but I disagree. I am more of a traditionalist. I would rather watch tennis in an old historic court, where legends were made and dreams came true. New York is more of a younger crowd. It is louder between points, they play later, and the drinking causes fans to get rowdy. Many people love this, and I respect that, but I would rather not watch tennis that way.
My final reason is similar to the courts, but not exactly the same. It is the exclusivity of the courts in the tournament. How many places in the world can you find over 50 red brick clay courts in one location? Or how many places have a grass tennis court, let alone 60. To me it is just not the same as seeing rows and rows of hard courts. If I wanted that I could go to my local park.
Overall, I think that Wimbledon and the French Open are just more prestigious and exclusive tournaments than the US Open. I would rather watch or travel to those tournaments than New York, and I think the atmosphere is totally different.
Feel free to disagree with me. If you would like, put a comment and write your thoughts about this topic. I’m always glad to see what other people think about certain topics. Also, if you liked this article be sure to check out my others.