Opening Night Ceremony. 2018 US Open

[videopress 20a4S2ho]

Narrator Andy Taylor | The Voice of the US Open

Kelly Clarkson headlines Opening Night in Arthur Ashe Stadium

A pair of Grammy award winners launched Opening Night at the 2018 US Open. Maxwell performed a soulful rendition of the National Anthem. Then Kelly Clarkson stormed the court with a medley of her biggest hits.

So excited to perform here at the U.S. Open. I love opening for Serena Williams!

Kelly Clarkson

Clarkson’s 10-minute set – including “Walk Away,” “Since U Been Gone,” “Miss Independent,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” “Heat” and “Heartbeat Song” – left fans across the country wondering when she’ll be called-up to rock the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

The performances in Arthur Ashe Stadium teed-up Monday night’s matches. First, 6-time US Open champion Serena Williams vs. Magda Linette. Followed by defending champion Rafael Nadal vs. David Ferrer.

Earlier in the day, Stan Wawrinka and Venus Williams earned the first two center court victories at the 50th anniversary of the tennis season’s final Grand Slam.

While Kelly Clarkson heads back to Los Angeles to continue coaching on NBC’s “The Voice,” the 2018 US Open fortnight is officially underway, honoring 50-years of Open Era champions.

Andy Taylor Announcer. 2018 US Open. Sweating profusely with Director Jeff Markowitz before the Opening Night Ceremony

Sweating profusely with Director Jeff Markowitz

Andy Taylor Announcer. 2018 US Open. Court side security before the Opening Night Ceremony. Photo: Laura Mack

Court side security for Kelly Clarkson

The US Open’s inaugural champions

In 1968, amateurs and professionals were finally allowed to compete for the first time. The US National Championships became the US Open.

Great Britain’s Virginia Wade won the first US Open Singles title. She defeated Billie Jean King 6-4 6-2 in the championship match. Both were on court for Monday night’s Opening Ceremony, sharing their memories of that historic season and the significance of equal prize money.

The late Arthur Ashe captured 1968’s US Open Men’s Singles title as an amateur, defeating Tom Okker of the Netherlands in an epic 5-setter: 14–12 5–7 6–3 3–6 6–3. Tiebreaks weren’t part of the game at the start of the Open Era, and that first set lasted 26-games.

We were fortunate enough to also have Tom Okker as part of Monday night’s ceremony. He helped honor the legacy of a selfless champion, in the 23-thousand seat stadium blazoned with Arthur’s name.

Andy Taylor Announcer 2018 US Open 50 Years of Champions
US Open Champions 1968-2018