US Open 2020: A Win for Gen-Z

Mikaeel Zohair, Staff Writer

The 2020 US Open has always been a major hit for the crowds, but for the first time in history, the seats of the stadium were empty and the loud cheers of fans were not present.

Not only was there no audience, but this year many top-seeded players did not compete. Roger Federer, a five-time US Open champion, withdrew due to a knee injury. Rafael Nadal, a four-time US Open champion and the defending singles champion, also withdrew because he doesn’t feel safe traveling with COVID-19 cases still increasing globally.

Bianca Andreescu, defending women’s singles champion wasn’t present either. Her absence was due to her feelings of unpreparedness to perform at a major and to focus on her match fitness. 

The two-week-long tournament started with virtual appearances by Governor Andrew Cuomo and Grammy Award-nominated singer Andra Day who sang her hit song, “Rise Up”. Players also voiced their views during this Grand Slam; notably, the 2018 Women’s Singles champion Naomi Osaka wore different masks every matchday with the names of those affected in the BLM movement to offer tribute.

After multiple hip surgeries and a long absence, Andy Murray returned to the site of his first Grand Slam title with a great (re)entrance. Against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, Murray came back to win the match after a near-loss. He went down in the second round with a straight-sets loss against the Canadian Felix-Auger Aliassime.

Venus Williams’s 22nd US Open ended in a loss against Czech Karolina Muchova, the first time she’d ever lost the first round of the US Open. 

Serena Williams made history with fellow mothers Victoria Azarenka and Tsvetana Pironkova, as a record three mothers in a Grand Slam Quarterfinal. Against Pironkova, Williams scored 21 aces in her winning match, the most aces she’s hit in over seven years. However, William’s journey came to an end upon playing Azarenka for the 22nd time. Although Williams led 18-4 in matches, Azarenka took the Semifinal victory in a comeback.

During his fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta, the world No. 1 Novak Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a line umpire with a ball in “frustration”. While many fans argued over this call and defended Djokovic, both he and the USTA released statements about the incident, claiming the decision was valid. His leave from the US Open allowed for others to win the trophy. 

Dominic Thiem defeated Daniil Medvedev in a straight-sets match and went on his way to the Final along with Alexander Zverev, making this a chance for their first major trophies.

After giving the first set to Victoria Azarenka, Naomi Osaka got the next two sets by focusing on her strengths and Azarenka’s weaknesses. Osaka ended up winning her third Grand Slam title, becoming the 12th woman to win the US Open Women’s Singles title more than one time.

This year’s US Open came to a dramatic end with Dominic Thiem coming back from what looked like a loss to win against Alexander Zverev in his first Grand Slam title. The two fought up to a fifth-set tiebreak, the first in the history of the US Open, to see Thiem win the Men’s Singles title.

This year’s 2nd Grand Slam is one for the books. The showcases of influence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic made the 2020 US Open one of the most unique tournaments in tennis history.