It’s the U.S. Open.
Here’s are the five top reasons why I like it:
1. It’s the truest test in tennis. The French Open’s clay surface favors baseliners who don’t know how to volley. Wimbledon’s grass historically favors big servers who don’t have to be strong from the ground. (Admittedly, that’s changed in recent years as the All England Club has slowed the grass.) But the hard courts of Flushing Meadow demand an all-court game while also giving a true, consistent bounce.
2. Night matches. Vintage battles between Borg & McEnroe, Sampras & Agassi, and more recently the Williams sisters have all taken place in the electric atmosphere made possible only under the lights.
3. I played on the old Stadium Court. When I worked for the USTA in the mid 80s, I actually played an exhibition mixed doubles match on Louis Armstrong stadium, the forerunner of today’s mammoth Arthur Ashe Stadium. I don’t remember who else was on the court, but I do recall hitting a winner topspin lob in the middle of all my nerves.
4. Magic happens. Whether it was the original Super Saturday in 1984 or Serena Williams’ meltdown last year or even Roger Federer’s incomparable between the legs shot in that same 2009 tournament (shown above), the US Open is full of “did you see that?” moments.
5. All TV, all the time. Thank God for ESPN2.