Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles helped kick off the 2023 US Open’s celebration of its 50th anniversary of equal prize money with a stirring tribute to tennis legend and cultural icon Billie Jean King on Monday night as the US Open set all-time night-session and day-night combined attendance records.
Before Bareilles delivered a poignant performance of her hit song, “Brave,” the former First Lady issued a moving dedication to King, the driving force behind bringing equal prize money to the US Open for the first time in 1973, saying:
“Let us all summon a fraction of the courage and tenacity of women like Billie Jean King and continue to fight for a better, more just and more equitable future for all of our children. So I want to congratulate the men and women of the US Open for raising the bar, not just for tennis, but for the entire world.”
The celebration capped a thrilling Opening Day and Night at the US Open that saw the tournament set several attendance records.
Monday’s total day-night combined attendance of 72,957 was a US Open record. Monday’s night-session attendance of 30,429 also set a US Open record for a single night session.