National Anthem Not Played During US Open Finals

The US Open, held at Flushing Meadow in New York City, witnessed the first Grand Slam titles of the career of Novak Djokovic and Coco Gauff over the weekend. Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the men's singles final while Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the women's singles final. However, the US Open was missing something that usually takes place before such major sports events — the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner.

The US Open Organizers, on August 27, had previously announced that "America the Beautiful" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" would be performed before the men's and women's singles championship, respectively. On the opening night of the US Open, Pranysqa Mishra, a 9-year-old singer, sang the national anthem. Cecile McLorin Salvant performed "America the Beautiful" on Saturday night as the American flag was unfurled across the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium and Will Liverman performed the song along with "Lift Every Voice and Sing" on Sunday night.

This came as a surprise to many fans watching the event on television and those present at the stadium. Former ESPN anchor Sage Steele wrote on X, "Ahhh... the irony of refusing to allow our national anthem ... at the *US* Open. I remain hopeful that we can get back to truly appreciating the greatness of America, but man...this is sad."

US Open hasn't had any public record of explanation as to why "The Star-Spangled Banner" was omitted from the tournament, however, they have performed it on the first night for the past few years. Micaela Bryan and Daphne Rubin-Vega sang the national anthem during this year's tournament, before a women's singles quarterfinal match on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, and before a men's singles quarterfinal match, respectively. "God Bless America" was also sung over the course of the tournament.

This isn't the first time the US Open has raised controversy around its use of the national anthem. In 2017, organizers removed it from the opening day's schedule, which sparked criticism. Although they didn't provide a specific reason for the decision, some believed it was in response to the National Football League protests spearheaded by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 — the same year he was named sportsperson of the year by Sports Illustrated.

For now, the US Open have yet to comment on their decision to omit the national anthem from the tournament leading up to the men's and women's finals. Whether it was intentional or a scheduling error, it is fresh in the minds of America's fans who witnessed the titles won by Novak Djokovic and Coco Gauff over the weekend.

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