Over the weekend, Novak Djokovic and Coco Gauff won the US Open men’s and women’s singles championships without “The Star-Spangled Banner” being played anytime during the matches.
Gauff won the first Grand Slam tournament in her career with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Aryna Sabalenka. Djokovic won in straight sets against Daniil Medvedev, 7-6 (5), 6-3. The event was held in Flushing Meadows in New York City; however, the national anthem was not played before the games began.
On August 27th, US Open officials confirmed that the national anthem and “Lift Every Voice and Sing” will be sung before the Men’s Singles Final. The women’s singles final was also announced with “America the Beautiful” as the theme song.
It was then revealed that “The Star-Spangled Banner” would only be played on opening night. The opening night national anthem was delivered by Pranysqa Mishra, a gifted 9-year-old vocalist who has performed at prior athletic events.
On Saturday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Cecile McLorin Salvant sang “America the Beautiful” as the American flag was spread over the court. On Sunday night, Will Liverman sang it and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Many people watching the US Open match between Djokovic and Medvedev on television or in the stadium were confused that “The Star-Spanged Banner” was not sung.
‘Ahhh… the irony of denying to allow our national anthem… at the *US* Open,’ former ESPN anchor Sage Steele said on X.
Steele said, “This is awful,” but was optimistic that the country could return to actually enjoying the glory of America.
The inclusion of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” offended some. In recent years, the song known as the Black national anthem has also been the target of criticism.
The national anthem had been played on the opening night of the US Open for the previous several years. There have also been renditions of “God Bless America” played throughout the competition.