This year’s US Open, the last grand slam of the tennis season, boasted top-quality tennis, major upsets, and some serious prize money. On the men’s side, world number three Stanislas Wawrinka beat world number one and fan-favorite, Novak Djokovic for the Men’s Singles title, collecting $3.5 million. Additionally, Jamie Murray, brother of world number two Andy Murray, and his partner Bruno Soares won the Men’s Doubles event, each taking home a trophy and a cool $625,000. There prize money added up to a fraction of the $46.3 million that distributed among all players.
On the women’s side, former world number one Serena Williams lost in straight sets to rising star, Karolína Plíšková, who also beat her sister, Venus Williams. Pliskova lost in the finals in a close match against now world number one Angelique Kerber of Germany. Another upset occurred in the finals on the Women’s Doubles even when American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and her partner Lucie Safarova, seed 12, took down first seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia.
The Open was also full of plenty surprises. Former world number one and five-time US Open champion, Roger Federer, announced that he would not play and would take some time to recover from his various injuries. After going to 65 straight grand slams, Federer missed the 2016 French Open ending his streak in June, and again missed the US Open. Rafael Nadal, who has been on the rise after being injury-stricken for the past couple years, lost to Luca Pouille of France in a surprising five-set upset. Juan Martin del Potro continued his dominance that earned him a silver medal in the Olympics, reaching quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion, Stan Wawrinka. Another surprise performance was by Kei Nishikori, who had a tough draw but upset three-time grand slam champion, Andy Murray, in a thrilling five-set epic.
Varsity Boys’ Tennis member Nikhil Lahiri ’18 commented, “The Nishikori-Murray match was an enthralling reminder of why we watch the sport of tennis. The electricity of New York attracts many such matches every year, and Nishikori’s and Murray’s quarterfinal was the match of this year’s tournament. The high quality of play, long, physical rallies and intense moments kept tennis fanatics and casual followers alike on the edge of their seats.”
After such an eventful two weeks, some serious changes in the rankings occurred. Del Potro’s performance catapulted him from 142 in the world to 64. Roger Federer’s absence bumped him down to world number seven. Frenchman Gaël Monfils’ semifinal run also moved him to world number eight. Even though Djokovic lost, his world number 1 ranking will not be going anywhere soon. Ahead 4,500 points of world number 2 Murray and 8,000 points of world number 3 Wawrinka, Djokovic can focus on playing his game instead of securing his ranking.
The same cannot be said for Serena Williams. Although she has had a record-breaking career with 22 grand slams, second only to Margaret Court, Williams has been world number 1 for 309 weeks, third on the overall list, and tied for first with 186 consecutive weeks at the position. Her loss to Plíšková moved her down to 7,050 points with Kerber stealing the world number 1 spot with 7,801 points. That being said, Williams broke the record for most Grand Slam match wins in women’s and men’s tennis, surpassing Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer by 1 win to make her have 308 match wins. The 2016 United States Tennis Championships were full of upsets and showed the determination of the athletes.