For the first time since 2015, all active former US Open singles champions will be competing in New York.
With Tuesday’s announcement that 2016 champ Stan Wawrinka and 2004 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova have been granted main-draw wild cards, all 14 active winners, seven men and seven women, were now officially in the 2018 field.
Those seven men have combined to win each of the last 14 US Open titles, with Roger Federer’s five (2004-08) and defending champion Rafael Nadal’s three (2010, 2013, 2017) leading the way.
The forever-linked legends will be joined by two-time winner Novak Djokovic (2011, 2015), Juan Martin del Potro (2009), Andy Murray (2012), Marin Cilic (2014) and Wawrinka.
Outside of that list, the last man to win a US Open title was Andy Roddick, in 2003, when the former world No. 1’s lone Grand Slam title was the last major singles trophy won by an American man.
The full house of men’s champions represents a welcome turnaround from 2017, when five of the ATP’s Top 11 men were absent from the New York showpiece, including 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori and Canadian Milos Raonic.
Of the women’s champions, Serena Williams was the first to claim a title.
The six-time US Open winner, who missed the 2017 tournament as she gave birth to her first daughter, lifted the 1999 trophy as a 17-year-old for the first of her 23 major singles titles.
Venus Williams is the only other active woman to win multiple New York crowns (2000, 2001), while Kuznetsova, Maria Sharapova (2006), Sam Stosur (2011), Angelique Kerber (2016) and defending champ Sloane Stephens complete the star-studded lineup.
Across the last 19 years, these seven women have accounted for 13 US Open titles.
The last non-active WTA player to triumph in New York is Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, who won in 2015 and retired at the conclusion of that season.
After Serena, Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka and Stosur all sat out last year’s US Open, fans and tournament organisers alike are excited about the prospect of a full draw.
“This really is what Grand Slam tennis is all about: the absolute best, and many of them, competing for the championship,” said Tournament Director David Brewer.
“We’re thrilled that we’re going to have the depth of field, from top to bottom, that it looks like we’re going to have. It’s really the ultimate that we could have hoped for.”
These spectacularly talented champions will battle it out once again on the famed hard courts of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center beginning on Monday, 27 August, with wild cards Wawrinka and Kuznetsova unseeded, next week’s draw could serve up a meeting of former champions as early as the opening round.