8. The U.S. Open has Been the Site of Many African American Breakthroughs
Serena Williams serving at the U.S. Open
The U.S. Open at Forest Hills is where Althea Gibson broke the color barrier to become the first African American woman to compete on the world tennis tour, and won a Grand Slam in 1956. It is also where Arthur Ashe became the first African American to win the U.S. Open in 1968, the inaugural men’s final when the tournament officially became the “U.S. Open.” This year, Serena Williams will attempt to break the record for the most U.S. Open womens titles, as she is currently tied with Chris Evert.
The main stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the name of the complex today at Flushing Meadows is the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Arthur Ashe Kids Day, an annual event before the first day of the tournament, celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. According to the website, Arthur Ashe Kids Day is the “largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world, with chart-topping music acts and today’s best tennis players coming together to celebrate tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.”