A look at each winner of the U.S. Open men's singles title since the open era began in 1968.
ARTHUR ASHE — 1968
The event’s first winner, Ashe defeated the Netherlands’ Tom Okker in five sets, including an opening set that went to 14-12. Ashe went on to win two additional Grand Slam titles — the Australian Open and Wimbledon — though he’d only make the U.S. Open finals one more time, in 1972.
ROD LAVER — 1969
In the midst of a seven-year run as the top-ranked player in the world, Laver defeated fellow Australian Tony Roche to take home all four Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year. Laver holds several records, including most games played in a single year (995) and the most titles won in a single year (18).
KEN ROSEWALL — 1970
Rosewall made it back-to-back Aussie champions when he defeated Tony Roche in four sets in the final. It was a bounce-back win for Rosewall, who had struggled for several seasons. Rosewall made another U.S. Open finals appearance in 1974, but was dominated by Jimmy Connors in three sets.
STAN SMITH — 1971
Better known for his success as a doubles player, the International Tennis Hall of Famer defeated Jan Kodes in four sets to win his title. It was one of two Grand Slam titles for Smith, who also won Wimbledon in 1972. He also won four U.S. Open doubles titles, the last coming in 1980.
ILIE NASTASE — 1972
Nastase was another top doubles player that won the U.S. Open singles title, defeating Arthur Ashe in five sets. The same year, Nastase became the first professional sports athlete to sign with Nike, agreeing to wear their shoes on the court.
JOHN NEWCOMBE — 1973
Six years after winning the last U.S. Open prior to the open era, Newcombe took home his second U.S. Open title. He was the third Aussie in five years to win the event, and the last until Patrick Rafter won back-to-back titles more than 20 years later.
JIMMY CONNORS — 1974, ‘76, ‘78, 1982-83
Connors became the first multiple winner of the U.S. Open during the open era, and the first five-time Open winner with his win in 1983. Connors won three of the four Grand Slam events in ‘74, and won both the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles in 1982. Connors beat both Bjorn Borg and Ivan Lendl twice in U.S. Open finals.
MANUEL ORANTES — 1975
One of two Spaniards to win the U.S. Open, Orantes defeated defending champion Jimmy Connors in straight sets in the 1975 final. It was one of 33 singles titles for Orantes, but his only Grand Slam singles title.
GUILLERMO VILAS — 1977
Though he holds the record for consecutive all-surface wins — 46 — Vilas was never ranked No. 1 in the world. Still, he enjoyed a historic 1977 season, winning two of the Grand Slam titles and 16 total events. He beat Jimmy Connors in the finals in four sets, including 6-0 in the final set.
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JOHN MCENROE — 1979-81, ‘84
McEnroe was the first man to win back-to-back titles, and one of only three men to win at least three consecutive U.S. Opens. When he won his first title, he became the youngest man to do so at 20 years old. He defeated rival Bjorn Borg in both the 1980 and ‘81 finals, and then won the ‘84 title as part of a year that he went 82-3 overall.
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IVAN LENDL — 1985-87
Though he’s now a U.S. citizen, at the time, Lendl became the first Czech to win the U.S. Open. Though he won three consecutive titles from 1985-87, he actually appeared in eight straight finals, from ‘82-‘89. In his career, he went 73-13 overall in U.S. Open singles matches.
MATS WILANDER — 1988
Following a 10-year stretch that was dominated by three tennis stars — Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl — Wilander started a four-year stretch that featured four different winners. He beat Lendl in the finals, giving him three Grand Slam titles for the 1988 season.
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BORIS BECKER — 1989
Along with Steffi Graf, Becker made it a German sweep in the 1989 singles finals. After beating Stefan Edberg in the Wimbledon final, Becker beat Lendl in what was Lendl’s final year of an eight-year run to the U.S. Open finals. Becker is one of 10 tennis players in history with to win 80 percent of his Grand Slam singles matches in the open era.
PETE SAMPRAS ? 1990, ?93, 1995-96, 2002
Arguably the most dominant tennis player in history, Sampras won five U.S. Open titles ? tied for the most all time with Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors ? over a 13-year span. Sampras? 2002 win may have been the most dramatic of the five, considering he was in the midst of an off year, defeated two young guns ? Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick ? on his way to the finals and then beat his arch rival Andre Agassi to win the title.
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STEFAN EDBERG — 1991-92
Four years after winning the doubles title in 1987, Edberg won his fifth singles Grand Slam title overall against Jim Courier. He’d go back-to-back with a win over Pete Sampras in 1992, his final trip to the U.S. Open finals. The righty retired in 1996 after earning more than $20 million in prize money during his career.
ANDRE AGASSI ? 1994, ?99
One of the most polarizing tennis figures in history, Agassi went several years between titles due in part to a crystal amphetamine addiction. His first win came when he was unseeded in 1994; the first man in the open era to do so. After improving from 110th in the world to sixth in the world in 1998, Agassi completed his comeback from drug addiction with a win over Todd Martin in the ?99 finals, catapulting him to No. 1 in the world.
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PATRICK RAFTER — 1997-98
Rafter picked up each of his Grand Slam singles titles at the U.S. Open, winning back-to-back championships against Greg Rusedski and Mark Philippoussis, respectively. Though Rafter won the two Opens in 1997 and ‘98, he didn’t move up to No. 1 in the world until 1999, a spot he held for one week — the shortest reign in ATP history.
MARAT SAFIN - 2000
Safin foiled Pete Sampras' run at a fifth U.S. Open title, beating the American in straight sets. It was Safin's first Grand Slam singles victory; he'd win the Australian Open in 2005, but never advanced past the semifinals in the French Open or at Wimbledon.
LLEYTON HEWITT ? 2001
As the youngest male to be ranked No. 1 in ATP history (20), Hewitt took the 2001 U.S. Open in straight sets against Pete Sampras. The year prior, Hewitt had won the U.S. Open doubles finals with Max Mirnyi in three sets. He returned to the singles finals in 2004, losing to Roger Federer in straight sets.
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ANDY RODDICK - 2003
Roddick's victory seemed to symbolize a changing of the guard in tennis. One year after Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi in a match-up of American tennis veterans, the 21-year-old Roddick burst on to the scene, taking down Juan Carlos Ferrero in the finals. Instead of becoming a force, though, Roddick has yet to win another Grand Slam title.
ROGER FEDERER - 2004-08
One of the tennis' all-time greats, Federer did something that Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi couldn't do: win five straight U.S. Open titles. Federer was dominant in his five wins, dropping just two sets -- one apiece to Agassi and Andy Roddick in 2005 and '06. In 2009, Juan Martin del Potro ended Federer's run, topping him in five sets.
JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO — 2009
Juan Martin del Porto’s U.S. Open win in 2009 was the first Grand Slam win of his career. He did it in grand fashion defeating Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and Roger Federer in the finals. He’s the first man ever to defeat Nadal and Federer in the same Grand Slam tournament.
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RAFAEL NADAL - 2010
Nadal entered the 2010 U.S. Open with five French Open wins, two Wimbledon titles and a win in the Australian Open in 2009. He completed the career Grand Slam in Flushing Meadows, taking down Novak Djokovic in four sets. Nadal returned to the final the following year, but fell in four sets to Djokovic.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC — 2011
Runner-up to Rafael Nadal in last year's U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic got revenge in a howling four-set victory for his first U.S. Open title. It was Djokovic's sixth straight win over the Nadal and lifted his 2011 record to a staggering 64-2. The win gave Djokovic, 24, his fourth Grand Slam trophy and puts him in the discussion with the generation's best.
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ANDY MURRAY -- 2012
Andy Murray held off Novak Djokovic's bid to win back-to-back U.S. Open titles in an epic five-set match, 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. Murray, who also won Olympic gold in tennis in 2012, became the first British man to win a Grand Slam title since 1936.
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