As the 2013 US Open is in full swing, let’s take a look back at some of the notable past winners of the Grand Slam tournament, as well as the memorable sneakers worn on one of the game’s biggest stages.
Today, the US Open is known as the most prestigious hard court Grand Slam tournament, but that hasn’t always been the case. When the tournament first started in 1881, it was played on grass courts in Rhode Island, and featured a much different format than the current tournament. As the event moved to Queens, NY, and grass evolved to hard court, the tournament took on a new form, and the sneakers used changed accordingly to meet the demands of hard-court play.
While the pre-Open era was dominated by canvas sneakers that lacked both personality and performance capabilities, starting in 1968, the game began to evolve, as professional tennis players were finally allowed to compete in Grand Slams. To help players optimize their performance on the tennis court–and to capitalize on the growing popularity of the sport–footwear brands began rolling out shoes that were aesthetically appealing, but (more importantly) could hold up in terms of performance on the hard stuff.