The US Open has been a staging point for some of the greatest matches in tennis history. It has also acted as a litmus test for many of the greatest of all time, a rite of passage if you will. A win at the US Open immediately vaulted the victor to a different rung on the tennis greatness ladder.
A look back at history will demonstrate this to be true. For instance, John McEnroe won his first Grand Slam title at the 1979 US Open and, for him anyway, the rest was history. His win at the 1979 US Open would lead to an incredible career that would include seven Grand Slam titles.
Or how about Pete Sampras. Sampras won his first Grand Slam title at the 1990 US Open. This win would set Sampras down the path towards becoming one of the greatest tennis players ever. Sampras would finish his career with an amazing 14 Grand Slam titles, including five US Open championships and seven Wimbledon victories.
And then you have players like Jimmy Connors or Chris Evert, both of whom built upon their budding legacies by capturing the US Open crown.
Evert's win at the 1975 US Open went wonderfully with her earlier win at the French Open and solidified her status as a tremendous player. Evert would go on to win the US Open six times and would finish her tremendous career with 18 Grand Slam titles.
Connors would add the 1974 US Open to his earlier triumphs in both the French Open and Wimbledon securing his status as the best player in the world in 1974. Connors would finish his tremendous career with eight Grand Slam titles, five of them coming at the US Open.
For others, however, the US Open becomes the functional equivalent of the Lost Ark, something constantly sought, yet never found.
Bjorn Borg is the poster child for this fruitless quest. Borg was one of the greatest players of all time—so long as he was playing on grass or clay. Borg won six French Open championships and five consecutive Wimbledon titles between 1974 and 1981.
Yet for all his success in Europe, Borg could not win at the US Open. Four times he reached the Final and four times he was turned aside. Even in 1976, when the US Open was played on clay, Borg could not prevail as he fell to Jimmy Connors.
Borg's failure to win the US Open at a time where he was at the absolute top of his game is something that has always haunted his legacy.
With the US Open being such a prestigious event—and an event that can make or break a career—many of the favorites in the 2012 tournament must be feeling the pressure. For many, it is a golden opportunity to seize. For others it will be an opportunity wasted.
Which of the favorites need to win the US Open the most?
Lets look at the top 10.