Carlos Alcaraz defeats Casper Ruud to win the US Open final.
The US Open, the final grand slam of the year, was only a few weeks away and the tournament was looking more and more like a “final” every day. Every player who made the final advanced to Wimbledon and every other player who fought his way through the draw (which included the likes of Dominic Thiem, Kei Nishikori, and Janko Tipsarević) was the big favorite to win the tournament and the $1.3 million cheque that went with it. It was the beginning of what has become a new kind of Grand Slam tournament: in-depth tennis.
In the lead-up to that tournament, the calendar was full of unusual events that made for one of the most unusual seasons in the history of the game. From the U.S. Open’s first day of play on May 25 to the closing bell of the US Open final on July 9, 2015, there were almost 150 events on the ATP Tour calendar. From the start of the U.S. Open, the women’s draw featured a women’s match on the fourth weekend and an exhibition tournament on the first weekend; from the start of Paris Masters, the men’s draw featured a men’s exhibition and a Grand Slam final; from the start of the Wimbledon Championships, the women’s draw featured four exhibition and three women’s singles matches on the first two weekends and four single-day events on the third weekend; from the start of the French Open, the men’s draw featured four full men’s matches and a single day event; and, from the start of Wimbledon, the men’s and women’s draws featured 20 full men’s matches and a singles exhibition at Wimbledon. Each event featured more than 10 matches a day on average. This was unprecedented. It was like the Masters, Wimbledon, and the French Open all rolled into one!
And yet, this new reality wasn’t all that new.