The final Grand Slam of the calendar year – The US Open – is once again upon us. To get the Tennis aficionados ruminating on the past triumphs and spectacular moments at Flushing Meadows before the action from this year’s tournament captivates the fans, we take a look at some of the greatest female players to have tasted success at Queens, New York.
Played on outdoor hard courts, the US Open offers a different challenge from the French Open and Wimbledon. But the greatest names in Women’s tennis have all prevailed at the US Open multiple times. Flushing Meadows has seen stars like Billie Jean King, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams, Chris Evert, Martina Hingis, Lindsay Davenport among other luminaries in women’s tennis lift the trophy. But who among them is the greatest champion at the US Open in the Open era?
We have considered factors like period of dominance, the nature of wins etc apart from of course the trophies won.
5) Billie Jean King
There’s a reason the US Open venue is named The Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre. A 12-time Grand Slam singles winner, Billie Jean King won 4 of her titles at Flushing Meadows. One of the leading figures in women’s Tennis during her career, BJK also fought for the rights of women in the sport and was also the first tennis player and female athlete ever to be named Sports Illustrated’s ‘Sportsman of the Year’.
Though she won only 3 US Opens during the Open era (1971, 1972 & 1974), her achievement cannot be overlooked. Her first success at New York was in 1967, the last tournament in the Amateur era. BJK is one of only 4 women to win the US Open without dropping a set 2 or more times in the Open era (Obviously, all of them feature in this list). She did so in ‘71 & ‘72, a period of 2 years when she was almost invincible on grass (US Open was played on grass till 1974).
Commendably, her win in ‘72 also featured a straight-set semifinal defeat of her arch-rival Margaret Court. The ‘Battle of the Sexes’ winner also reached the final of the US Open twice, in 1965 and 1968 (defeated by Court and Virginia Wade respectively).