The 2017 US Open will take place from August 28 to September 10, in Flushing Meadows, New York. It is the last major tennis tournament of the year. Together with the Australian Open, the Roland Garros and the Wimbledon, they comprise the tennis Grand Slam. The prize money allocated for the event this year exceeds $50 mil. 5 weeks prior to the US open, several high profile tournaments (the US open series) take place on hard courts, leading up to the major event. In 2017, the North American hard court season started in Atlanta for the men’s tennis and Stanford with the Bank of the West Classic for the women. Male and female tennis stars are currently in Canada (Montreal and Toronto respectively), before they start their descend to Cincinnati. The final stop before New York will be the Winston and Salem Open for the ATP players. The ladies will be heading to New Haven for the Connecticut Open.
***For the 2018 US Open draw and predictions, follow this link.***
New rules experiment at the 2017 US open
The 2017 US Open will feature 2 new experimental rules that aim to help the sport evolve. The first is the shot clock, which will count down during warm up, serves, medical time outs and bathroom breaks. It will only be used for the junior tournaments this year, but officials plan to introduce it across the board in the following years. There has been a lot of discussion about players abusing breaks, or taking their time during serves, as a tactic to abrupt game play and shift momentum. With the shot clock, rules that are already in place for each of those activities will actually start being enforced.
The second rule to be introduced at the 2017 event will be allowing coaching from the player’s box during a match. On court coaching is already allowed at the WTA tournaments, except for the Grand Slams. And it is common knowledge that coaches signal to advise their players from their box often. The USTA will allow coaches to communicate with their athletes during a match, by signaling (if they are far from them) or even talking to them if they are close enough, in between points. Personally, I find the coaching sessions at the women’s events very interesting. On the other hand, being alone on the court and trying to figure out a winning strategy is one of the challenges that make tennis the wonderful sport it is. It is one of the skills players need to develop and part of what separates the truly great from the rest. Perhaps that is a reason why Roger Federer was quick to dismiss the idea:
I’m not all for it, I find it kind of cool that in tennis, you know, you’re sort of on your own out there. Not everybody has the same amount of resources for coaching, as well. So I’m not sure if it’s that beneficial.
US Open: The pioneering Grand Slam
There is a lot of great tennis action in the following weeks, but the US Open is not just another hugely important tennis tournament. From being the first Grand Slam to introduce equal pay for men and women, to using the first Hawk-Eye system on court for instant replays, the USTA has been pioneering and taking the sport a few steps further. While it is not easy to see something you love so much change, it is only natural that tennis will evolve, as many other sports have. Whether the experiments are on the right direction or not, we should be able to judge fairly soon. The sure thing is that the US Open organizers are always bolder than those of the other Grand Slams and eager to please the crowds. Let’s see how that plays out this year.
If you’re reading this after the 2017 US Open finale, here are some of the best moments of the tournament.
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