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US Open

Flushing Meadows, USA 22 August - 11 September 2022

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Fred Perry reaching for a forehand shot
Grand Slam

British players history at the US Open

• 4 MINUTE READ

As attentions turn to the US Open 2020, the second Grand Slam of the year, we take a look back at some of the key performances by British tennis players in the American tournament.

Britain’s first success in the United States Slam came early. In 1903 Laurence Doherty made history as the first non-American to triumph in the men’s event, beating home favourite William Larned 6-0 6-3 10-8. Betty Nuthall made her mark in 1930 when she became the first non-American since 1892 to win the US women’s singles title. Remarkably Nuthall reached the final of what was then known as the US National Championships in 1927 aged just 16 and serving underhand throughout the tournament. Known for her powerful forehand, Nuthall would eventually adopt an overhand serving technique which she used when she won the final of the US event in straight sets. 

The most impressive British performer in the American Slam has to be Fred Perry. The renowned Englishman dominated the sport during the 1930s, and by defeating arch rival Don Budge in the 1936 final Perry would create his own piece of history by becoming the first non-American player to win the event three times (1933, 1934 and 1936).

Virginia Wade etched her name into the record books when, in 1968, she won the first-ever US Open women’s singles title in the Open era.

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The Number 6 seed was pushed to three sets only once – a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 first-round victory over American Stephanie DeFina – a remarkable feat considering her eventual path to the final.

The Brit defeated No. 3 seed Judy Tegart in the quarterfinals, countrywoman and No. 2 seed Ann Jones in the semis and top-seeded defending champion Billie Jean King in the final. Wade remains the only player – man or woman – to win the US Open singles title by beating each of the top three seeds in succession.

In 2012 Andy Murray ended Britain's 76-year wait for a male Grand Slam singles champion with an epic victory over Novak Djokovic in the US Open final.

Murray – who had lost four Grand Slam finals prior to this record-breaking triumph – became the first British man since Perry in 1936 to win a major singles title.

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Another Murray who has enjoyed a lot of success in the US Open is Jamie Murray. The older brother of Andy can lay claim to being the only Brit to have won the American Grand Slam in men's doubles, and mixed doubles, in the Open era. Alongside Brazil's Bruno Soares Murray triumphed in the men's doubles event in 2016 and won the last three editions of the mixed doubles - first with Martina Hingis in 2017 then with America's Bethany Mattek-Sands in 2018 and 2019.

The last Briton to win a US Open women's doubles title was Virginia Wade who, alongside her singles success in 1968, prevailed in the doubles event in 1972, 1973, 1975 and 1976.

Since the inclusion of wheelchair tennis at the US Open in 2005, Brits have flourished across a range of different singles disciplines.

In 2007 Britain’s Peter Norfolk won the inaugural US Open men’s quad singles title, beating world No.1 David Wagner 7-6, 6-2, and defended that title a year later, while Andy Lapthorne would triumph in the same category in 2014 and 2019.

In 2015 Jordanne Whiley won her first and only Grand Slam singles title to date, producing a magnificent final set performance to beat Yui Kamiji 6-4, 0-6, 6-1.

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Alfie Hewett will be looking to make it a three-peat in this year’s US Open singles competition, having triumphed in the event in both 2018 and 2019.

Hewett, Whiley, Norfolk, Lapthorne - and Gordon Reid - will also go in search of more US Open doubles silverware this year.

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