The U.S. Open developed from one of the oldest tennis championships in the world:
the U.S. National Championship, which was established in 1881 as a national men’s singles and doubles competition. The tournament was open only to clubs that were members of the U.S. National Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA; now the USTA).
The event expanded to include women’s singles in 1887, women’s doubles in 1889, and mixed doubles in 1892. The five championships were contested at different locales until 1968, when all five tournaments were finally hosted at a common site (the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y.), whereupon the championships became known as the U.S. Open. The tournament moved to Flushing Meadows in 1978.
As a unique result of this decentralized history, the tournament has been played on a variety of surfaces: from 1881 to 1974, it was played on grass; from 1975 to 1977, on clay; and since 1978, on a fast hard-court surface comprising an acrylic layer over an asphalt or concrete base.
Here is a look back at some special moments in the late 1980's. An era when MacEnroe, Connors, Wilander, Navritilova and Evert were still in the game.