The first day of the US Open is done and dusted and good things are just around the corner. Yesterday, The US Open set an all-time Opening Day record attendance. 61,839 tennis fans came to Flashing Meadows between the day and night sessions.
A capacity of 38,068 people attended the day session and 23,771 filled the Arthur Ashe Stadium for the evening session. The previous Opening Day record was 61,392, set on the 31st of August of 2015, while the record considering all days remains the one set on September 2, 2016, with 65,286 people coming to USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
This is some beautiful news for the US Open and for tennis in general. American fans’ love for the game remain unbeaten, even considering all the difficulties of this year.
With the absence of defending champion Stan Wawrinka, two-time-winner Novak Djokovic, former finalist Kei Nishikori, 2012 champion Andy Murray, and Milos Raonic, this could be considered one of the poorest Slams of the last few years, but the reaction of New York crowd has been amazing as they couldn’t refuse to enjoy the sport they love.
There were 19 American players on the court (11 men and 8 women) that fought hard to give a joy to the fans and eight of them (four men and four women) managed to do it. From Christopher Eubanks’ fairy tale season to 17-year-old Claire Liu–who made their Grand Slam debuts–to the surprise of the year Tennys Sandgren (who entered the top 100 this year for the first time of his career), who took a set off no.5 seed and 2014 champion Marin Cilic, it was surely a huge day for American tennis.
Venus Williams picked up her 73rd win in her home Slam while the spotlight of the day was the match between Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep, which the Russian won after almost three hours and gave Venus hope to reach World #1 again.
On the men’s side, there were also the newest upcoming starts who lit up the day. Denis Shapovalov, the Canadian 18-year-old who reached the semifinals in the Montreal Masters and got in the main draw through qualifiers, prevailed in three sets against another young upcoming talent, Russian Daniil Medvedev. In the last match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, Alexander Zverev also did his job, defeating Darian King in an exciting straight sets to close out the day.
This wins are also very important for the game and show that even if it’s a difficult period with multiple injuries that affected the top players, young talents are raising so quickly. And, in regards to the fans who come to watch tennis, as we saw in the first day of the US Open, this is a huge revelation and that’s why the future of tennis looks really good. The first opening day of a Slam without the “Big Four” in a decade saw record attendance; the sport doesn’t seem to be losing fans as we enter a new era.