The start of September means the season’s last Grand Slam is in full swing as the 2021 US Open was set to begin Aug. 30 in New York.
The US Open is excited to welcome fans back to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center after last year’s event was held with no spectators due to COVID-19.
The game’s biggest stars will be on display in New York with a number of notable historical achievements on the line. Novak Djokovic is vying to become the first male player to win the “Calendar Grand Slam” in 52 years and only the third all-time, joining Rod Laver (1962, ’69) and Don Budge (1938). He will also become the first player to accomplish the feat if he were to prevail in New York since Steffi Graf did so in 1988.
In ’88, Graf also completed the elusive “Golden Slam,” adding an Olympic gold medal to her four Grand Slam titles. She is the only player in the history of the sport to have accomplished that feat and will remain so for at least another three years after Djokovic fell in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics last month, failing to medal.
If Djokovic were to win the title, he would also surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who are all tied with 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
Also on the line in New York in September will be Serena Williams’ quest for her 24th Grand Slam singles title, which would tie Margaret Court for the most all-time. Williams, though, has been battling an injury since pulling out of Wimbledon and missed the Olympics as well as all of the US Open Series.
Wheelchair tennis players Diede de Groot from the Netherlands and Dylan Alcott from Australia will also be attempting to complete the “Golden Slam” in the women’s and quad divisions, respectively. They would both need to earn a gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics held immediately before the US Open and then win the singles title in New York.
From a more local perspective, a number of Orlando residents will be competing in New York, including Jennifer Brady, fresh off an appearance in Tokyo representing Team USA, who will be looking to replicate her run to the semifinals last year before falling to eventual champion Naomi Osaka.
Mackenzie McDonald is finally healthy after battling back from a serious hamstring injury and finds himself back in the ATP Top 100 after reaching his first career ATP Tour final in Washington, D.C., earlier this summer. Also of note, Lake Nona resident and University of Florida star Sam Riffice will have the opportunity to compete at the US Open after his NCAA singles title earned in May at the USTA National Campus earned him a main draw wild card.
For fans looking to watch the action from Lake Nona, look no further than Boxi Park, which will be hosting a US Open finals weekend watch party on Saturday, Sept. 11, and Sunday, Sept. 12, from 3-7 p.m. Not only will the matches be featured on the big screen, fans will be able to order the famed “honey deuce” cocktail and have the chance to walk away with a number of USTA and US Open giveaways.