By strict definition, the first U.S. Open was held in 1968, so a ranking of the greatest U.S. Open stars only includes players who played in the Open Era.
That excludes such standouts as Bill Tilden and Helen Wills, who won seven U.S. singles titles apiece before pros became eligible to compete. We also left off Rod Laver, who won the U.S. Championship twice but only once in the Open Era.
The time frame posed a particular problem for two women whose careers bridged the Open and pre-Open eras: Billie Jean King and Margaret Court. Excluding them and their six U.S. Open singles titles seemed a disservice to them and to the article. More to the point, competition did not change for women when the U.S. Championship was opened to pros, because the top female players had remained amateurs in the pre-Open Era. Therefore, they are included.
U.S. Open stardom is based primarily on success at that tournament. However, other issues, such as overall greatness, fan appeal and distinctive accomplishments, played a role in determining a player's ranking.
We came up with 13 players who deserve inclusion in a list of the greatest stars in U.S. Open history. From there, we counted down to the greatest star.