The US Open Court of Champions celebrates the legacy of the greatest singles champions in the history of the US Open and U.S. Championships. Each champion defines the essence of talent and character required to win at tennis' ultimate proving grounds. Inductees, selected by media from around the world, represent the tournament's all-time greatest "the best of the best" whose electrifying performances have contributed to making the US Open one of the world's top sporting events.
The US Open Court of Champions attraction is located between the South Plaza and Courts 10 and 13.
|2010||Ken Rosewall||Margaret Osborne duPont|
|2008||Pete Sampras||Molla B. Mallory|
|2006||Don Budge||Martina Navratilova|
|2005||Ivan Lendl||Maureen Connolly|
Billie Jean King
The pint-sized Austin was a super-sized talent, combining a penetrating, two-fisted baseline game with a razor-sharp focus and a relentless will to win. One of the most mentally-tough champions ever to play the game, the Californian remains the youngest player – male or female – ever to win the US Open title, capturing her first of two in 1979 at the age of 16. She won her second US Open crown in 1981. Always a fan favorite, Austin will long be recalled as a player of great skills, and a champion of great grace.
A remarkable athlete and splendid tactician, Marion Anthony “Tony” Trabert established himself as one of the game’s greatest players in the mid-1950’s. From Cincinnati, Trabert utilized a superb serve-and-volley game and a singular court sense to capture U.S. Championships titles in 1953 and 1955, the latter capping a stellar season in which he won three of the four majors. His keen understanding of the sport later translated into an outstanding broadcasting career with CBS Sports, where he helped raise the profile and popularity of the US Open, further enhancing his legacy as a great champion and a grand ambassador for tennis.
Monica Seles was a powerful personality and a dominant force in women’s tennis in the early 1990s. A two-fisted slugger who knocked out opponents with a dynamic mix of talent and tenacity, Seles won back-to-back singles titles here in 1991 and 1992, and twice more reached the Flushing final – in 1995 and 1996. Overcoming extraordinary adversity with exceptional grace, Seles proved herself a grand champion – and a paragon of the power of perseverance.
Bold, brash and bigger than life, Andre Agassi splashed the great stage of the US Open with a brilliant spectrum of color and charisma, entertaining and electrifying fans with his sizzling performances and singular personality. The man from Las Vegas was twice a champion in New York, showcasing an unrelenting ground game, unparalleled return-of-serve and unyielding determination. A fan favorite whose brilliance has left an indelible mark on this event and the sport of tennis, Agassi competed in an Open-era record 21 consecutive US Open Championships - the ultimate showman at the ultimate show.
An intense and fiery competitor, Richard Alonzo "Pancho" Gonzalez employed a lethal serve-and-volley game and unyielding determination to capture back-to-back U.S. Championships titles in 1948 and 1949. Tennis' great tempest dominated the game with remarkable athleticism, supreme focus and unparalleled desire to achieve. The Los Angeles native became one of the pillars of the early professional game, and his popularity helped pave the way for the dawn of Open tennis and the worldwide success of pro tennis events - including the US Open.
One of the game's greatest champions and grandest gentlemen, the man affectionately known as "Muscles" was a heavyweight talent and a powerful force at this tournament through three decades. The diminutive Aussie played a big game, featuring superb movement, precise volleys and a backhand that defined brilliance. In terms of longevity, Rosewall is without peer, winning his first U.S. title in 1956 at the age of 21, and his second 14 years later at age 35.
A singular talent, particularly in doubles competition, Osborne duPont captured 25 U.S. Championships titles -- more than any other player in the history of this event. Her superb court sense and precise volleys made her a dominant presence at the U.S. Championships for nearly two decades. Winner of three consecutive U.S. women's singles crowns from 1948-1950, she also won 13 women's doubles and 9 mixed doubles titles, part of a sparkling resume that defines her as one of this sport's all-time greats.
The US Open Court of Champions honors and celebrates the achievements of the event's greatest champions with an individual, permanent monument to serve as a lasting tribute to the legendary singles champions during the 126-year history of the event whose talents have helped build this tournament into one of the world's top sporting events. The 9,000-square-foot outdoor pavilion, bounded by the South Entry Gate and the Arthur Ashe Commemorative Garden and Sculpture, also features a complete listing of all U.S. singles champions since the competition began in 1881.
His name synonymous with integrity, dignity, and class, Arthur Ashe was a champion of extraordinary talent and a man of extraordinary grace. The first winner of this event in the Open era, he also was the first African-American man to claim a major title. One of tennis' greatest ambassadors, the man for whom the US Open's grandest stage is named will forever be recalled as a champion of sportâ€”and the epitome of the power of fortitude and courage.
Five-time US Open men's champion Pete Sampras and eight-time U.S. Championships women's champion Molla B. Mallory were inducted into the 2008 Court of Champions.
With quiet confidence, unfailing courage and unparalleled commitment to excellence, Pete Sampras rewrote the record books and redefined the word "champion." His ascent to greatness lifted this event - and the sport of tennis - to new heights of energy and 14 grand slam singles crowns. Armed with an enormous serve, explosive forehand and exquisite net game, Sampras was a competitor of singular brilliance â€“ and a champion of exceptional class. He will long be recalled as one of the greatest ever to play this sport.
The Norwegian-born Mallory won an incredible record of eight U.S. Championships singles titles, including a women's record four consecutive titles from 1915-1918. Her win in 1926, at age 42, established her as the oldest singles champion in the history of this event. A tireless competitor, Mallory out-worked and out-willed even the finest of opponents with a brilliant baseline game and an unparalleled drive and desire to succeed.
The 2007 US Open celebrated the 50th anniversary of Althea Gibson’s historic title victory at the U.S. National Championships with an Opening Night celebration themed, "Breaking Barriers." As part of the ceremony, Gibson was inducted in the US Open Court of Champions, based on the result of an international media vote. The Opening Night tribute included a celebration of African American females who also broke barriers in the world of sports, entertainment, politics and the arts.
In 1950, Althea Gibson broke the color barrier in tennis, becoming the first African American to play in the U.S. National Championships (now the US Open). She graduated from Florida A&M University in 1953 on a Tennis and Basketball scholarship. Gibson won Singles titles at the French Championships (1956), Wimbledon (1957 & 1958) and the U.S. Nationals (1957 & 1958).
In 1958, Gibson published her autobiography entitled, I Always Wanted to Be . Named the Associated Press Woman Athlete of the Year (1957 & 1958), Gibson also released a record album, Althea Gibson Sings. She appeared in the 1959 major motion film, The Horse Soldiers, starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. In 1964, Gibson became the first African American touring pro of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, participating in 171 LPGA tournaments. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971, Gibson was appointed in 1975 as the New Jersey State Commissioner of Athletics. She later ran for the New Jersey state senate, and in 1981, Gibson received the Theodore Roosevelt Award, the NCAA's highest individual honor.
Four-time US Open women's champion Martina Navratilova was inducted into the Court of Champions in 2006, along with Don Budge, who won back-to-back U.S. singles titles in 1937 and 1938.
With fiery determination, and an unrelenting attack, Martina climbed the game's highest peaks by amassing an incredible 15 US Open Championships including four singles titles. The Czech-born champ's focus on fitness changed the game, and her stirring on-court achievements raised the sport to new heights. Becoming a U.S. citizen, Martina went on a remarkable run, reaching five consecutive US Open singles finals. An icon of sports and freedom, Martina's record Open-era achievements may never be surpassed.
Popular and personable, the big California red-head dominated tennis in the late 1930s with a game built of equal parts power and poise. Owning arguably the finest backhand in the history of tennis, John Donald Budge won back-to-back U.S. singles titles in 1937 and 1938, the latter of those completing the "Grand Slam," at once setting the ultimate standard by which to define greatness in this sport.
In 2005, the Court of Champion inductees were three-time US Open winner Maureen Connolly and Ivan Lendl, who was also crowned champion three times and played in a record eight straight US Open finals.
Connolly was the first woman to ever win a Grand Slam title when she was crowned the 1951 US Open Champion at the age of 16. She went on to win the US Open in 1952 and 1953. An accident ended her career abruptly in 1954.
Women's Singles Champion - 1951, 1952, 1953
For eight straight consecutive years (1982-89), Ivan Lendl was a finalist at the US Open Championships. Lendl, along with Bill Tilden, hold the record for most consecutive US Open Finals appearances. Lendl claimed the crown for three years (1985-86-87).
Five-time US Open champion Steffi Graf and four-time winner John McEnroe were the Open Era inductees in 2004, while five-time winner Margaret Court and two-time titlist Jack Kramer were honored from the Golden Era.
Graf won five US Open singles titles with the first of her titles in 1988 capping a Grand Slam. Known for winning many of her early-round matches with decisive quickness, Graf's .890 winning percentage is second to Chris Evert in the Open Era.
Women's Singles Champion - 1988, 1989, 1993, 1995, 1996
A New Yorker and former US Open ballboy, McEnroe was one of the tournament's greatest personalities and greatest champions. In 1981, McEnroe became the first player to win three straight U.S. men's singles titles since Bill Tilden from 1920-25.
Men's Singles Champion - 1979, 1980, 1981, 1984
Court combined to win 19 U.S. titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles during her 11 appearances. Of Court's record 24 career Grand Slam singles titles, five were U.S. singles titles with her 1970 triumph finishing off only the second Grand Slam won by a woman.
Women's Singles Champion - 1962, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1973
Kramer won the first two post-war U.S. singles titles in 1946 and 1947. He reached the U.S. singles final and won the doubles title in 1943 while on leave from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Men's Singles Champion - 1946, 1947
Men's Doubles Champion - 1943
In the inaugural year of the US Open Court of Champions, Jimmy Connors, a five-time champion, and Chris Evert, who won the Open six times, were honored as the best players in the Open Era, which began in 1968. The other inductees were Bill Tilden and Helen Wills from the Golden Era, and Rod Laver and Billie Jean King, who played during both eras.
Unflappable, usually unstoppable "Chris America" from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was the model of consistency reaching at least the semifinals in 17 of her 19 US Open appearances. A backcourt paragon, striking fiercely with deep, accurate, demoralizing drives, she won six U.S. singles titles and was a finalist on three occasions. As the first female champion with a two-handed backhand, she inspired countless imitators.
Women's Singles Champion - 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982
Highly competitive and emotive, a crowd-rousing left-hander from Belleville, Illinois, "Jimbo" was a man for all seasons and situations. He stands alone in winning five U.S. singles titles on three different surfaces: 1974 on grass; 1976 on clay; 1978, 1982 and 1983 on hard. Connors also won a U.S. doubles title in 1975. His both-handed backhand was influential in that stroke becoming the standard.
Men's Singles Champion - 1974, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1983
Men's Doubles Champion - 1975
Overpowering from the baseline, "Little Miss Poker Face" of Berkeley, California was perpetually calm and cool. Helen's heavy ground strokes and concentration made her almost unbeatable. Her rising, as she unfailingly ascended to finals, was as sure as the sun's. She entered the U.S. Championships nine times, reaching the singles final every year, winning seven titles, and a record 46 straight matches. She also won four U.S. doubles and two mixed doubles titles.
Women's Singles Champion - 1923, 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931
Women's Doubles Champion - 1922, 1924, 1925, 1928
Mixed Doubles Champion - 1924, 1928
A majestic Philadelphian with an overwhelmingly complete game, "Big Bill" stood 6-feet-2, dominating the 1920s. His serve was so explosive they called it "The Cannonball." He won more U.S. titles than any other man, 16, including seven singles titles and a record 42 straight matches. Tilden also won five men's doubles titles and four mixed doubles titles.
Men's Singles Champion - 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1929
Men's Doubles Champion - 1918, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1927
Mixed Doubles Champion - 1913, 1914, 1922, 1923
An effervescent, energetic, unrelenting fighter for women's tournament rights, "Mother Freedom" was universally revered throughout the sporting community. Spearheading the pioneers of the original women's pro tour -- the "Long Way Babies" -- she was determined and spunky on court, an ever-aggressive volleyer from Long Beach, California. King won 13 U.S. titles: four singles, five doubles and four mixed doubles championships.
Women's Singles Champion - 1967, 1971, 1972, 1974
Women's Doubles Champion - 1964, 1967, 1971, 1974, 1978
Mixed Doubles Champion - 1967, 1971, 1973, 1976
Swooping like a firebird, incendiary in his shot making, Australia's red-headed "Rocket" emerged from the Queensland bush to conquer the world as an amateur, then as a pro. Swift of foot, he struck with an awesome left arm, combining volleying and baselining strengths. His two U.S. singles titles, in 1962 and 1969, completed Grand Slams, making him the only player to do so twice.
Men's Singles Champion - 1962, 1969