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A historic U.S. Open ends with the breakthrough of tennis’ new superstar

For many, this past weekend was the genesis of a much-anticipated National Football League season. But in a country where the power of the pigskin reigns supreme, many other eyes were set on the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center courts in New York. As the NFL continues to shatter their own records year after year, the 2023 U.S. Open became the most attended U.S. Open in history.

According to its website, the U.S. Open welcomed 957,387 fans over the 20 days, which encompassed the main draw and Fan Week, along with qualifiers. The U.S. Open’s 2023 main draw attendance was an Open record of 799,402, to add all 25 sessions in Arthur Ashe Stadium sold out for the second year in a row. That is some serious foot traffic through Flushing Meadows.

Tennis fans from all walks of life came out to witness the best tennis players in the world, from Leonardo DiCaprio, Kylie Jenner, Aaron Rodgers and even Lil Wayne aka Mr. Carter aka Lil’ Weezy aka Best rapper alive – who loves himself some tennis.

Fans were treated to some incredible tennis over the course of three weeks and were witnesses to history. Novak Djokovic, who will one day be regarded by the masses as the best tennis player of all time, captured his 24th Major singles Grand Slam title, a Men’s Open Era record. With every new Grand Slam title he wins, he’ll continue to break his own record. Incredible. Just how many more Major singles titles does he have left in him? Only time will tell, but I’d wager to say he will be the favorite in Australia and probably even Wimbledon next year, so we’ll see if he can surpass the 25 mark. My money’s on the over.

On the women’s side, Coco Gauff is HER. Just days after we featured her as one of the new faces of tennis and the rising star on the women’s side, she broke through and won her first Major singles Grand Slam title. It was not an easy path – she had to go the distance in 4 matches including coming from behind in the final against the now No. 1 ranked in the entire world, Aryana Sabalenka. And that’s after dropping the first set, 6-2.

The beauty of tennis is that losing the first set does not mean defeat. There’s always a fighting chance to come back and ultimately win the match. If it’s one thing that Gauff has proven to us over the few years she’s been on tour, it’s that she has the heart of a lion and the mentality of a seasoned veteran. Those attributes lead to having an edge over your opponent and opens the door to prevail in long matches. Because of her incredible rise to stardom, America is taking note, too. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Gauff’s win delivered 3.4 million viewers on ESPN – up +92% from last year’s Women’s Championship – making it the most-viewed Major Women’s Championship ever. EVER. Coco has shown the tennis world she has arrived and is here to stay.

With her breakthrough, and with the likes of other upcoming Americans like Jessica Pegula, and Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, and Ben Shelton on the men’s side, Americans have never been more optimistic about our tennis stars. Although this historic U.S. Open has come to a close, we have a lot to look forward to in the future.

Photo: Getty Images

You can follow Bruce Vail on Twitter (@BruceJVail) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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