This Year’s Enthralling U.S. Open, In Pictures

This Year’s Enthralling U.S. Open, In Pictures

Like every U.S. Open—save last year’s no-fans installment—the 2021 version of New York City’s Grand Slam began as a mere tournament, developed a life of its own somewhere along the way, and ended up as a changing of the season.

This year’s event, though, had something else, something epic. What first looked like a Slam without its marquee names soon became the Slam that announced a new guard, one that had all of us looking at the game and its possibilities—both its life-changing, history-making runs for a couple of relative newcomers and its tortuous frustrations as one of the sport’s all-time greats came up just short of making his own history.

Betwixt and between all that, though, was the living, breathing, beating heart of the tournament, captured here by Caroline Tompkins’s evocative images: A world and a culture all its own, reimagined every day by thousands upon thousands of spectators and boulevardiers, from entire families of tennis obsessives clad in ready-to-play gear waiting for autographs on the outside courts to single-ticket bon vivants looking merely for a sunny afternoon with a Honey Deuce in-hand.

If you were there, you’ll feel the experience again in this gallery—and if you weren’t, well… consider this the story of the tournament beyond mere headlines and scoreboards.

Photographed by Caroline Tompkins. Hair by Angela Carroll (@angelahairartist).

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