The tennis world will gather in Flushing today as the this year’s final Grand Slam gets under way. There are many key storylines as play begins:
-1. Andy Murray is looking to secure his first Grand Slam Championship. The British phenom has been near the top of the tennis game for some time now, but has never been able to take home the big pay-day. Will his luck change in Flushing?
-2. Rafael Nadal looks to complete the career “Grand Slam” by capturing the one Grand Slam event that has eluded him in the past. After two consecutive semifinal appearances in Flushing, can Rafa demonstrate his all around toughness on the hard courts of New York?
-3. Can Roger Federer prove to the world that his reign is not over yet and capture his first US Open title since 2008? He was the runner-up in New York last year, losing in 5 sets to Juan Martin Del Potro (who will not be playing this year).
-4. Can an American end the 7 year drought of Grand Slam Championships? The last time an American male captured a prestigious Grand Slam Championship was in 2003, when Roddick took home a title at this site (the US Open).
So these are the 4 key questions to the tournament in my eyes. Lets delve into some answers.
1. Andy Murray is more than capable of bringing home the first Grand Slam title of his career here. Murray possesses an outstanding all around game that fits perfectly for the hard courts of Flushing. He has proven that he can beat the big dogs lately, by knocking off both Federer and Nadal in straight sets in Toronto. So definitely do not overlook Murray, who is ranked 4th heading into this event. I will state though, both Nadal and Federer’s hunger to prove the naysayers wrong will not help Murray’s chances though. Look for Andy to go deep as usual, but to come up short, in either the Semifinals or the Finals. I would expect a Semifinal exit though.
2. Nadal is more than ready to take home the one Grand Slam that has eluded him during the course of his stellar career. He currently holds the number 1 ranking. He has won 5 titles this year. Has a combined 52 and 7 match record. Plus he is hungry. Expect this guy to roll into the Finals for a date with his old nemesis Mr. Federer. Rafa plays every point like it is his last and will cruise his ways into the Finals. Counterpunchers can be quite dangerous on the hard courts of New York. Sure he will have challenges such as a possible date with Andy Murray, but it is very hard to stop this guy when he is motivated. I expect Rafa to come up just short though and lose in the Finals due to the fact that another man is even more motivated, Roger Federer.
3. Roger Federer will shock the world over the next two weeks and take home an astounding 17th Grand Slam title. I am not sure what it is about this guy. All directions are pointing against him capturing a 6th US Open title. But I for some reason feel like this guy has one more big time tourney left in him. And this is the one. Sure Wimbledon has always been his playground, but he has not exactly been a slouch in Flushing over the years. Look for Roger to upset his old nemesis, Rafa, and prove to the world that even at the age of 29, he is still capable of playing like the best player in the world.
4. This will not be the tournament that an American will end the 7 year drought. Guys like Nadal, Federer, and Murray are just too good to all go down here. But I will state, guys like Roddick and Fish could both go deep. They have both played outstanding this summer and have each enjoyed success in the past in Flushing. All 4 of the top Americans, have had their best Grand Slam finishes in Flushing during their careers. Coincidence, I think not. Roddick captured his only Grand Slam title here in 03. Fish, made the quarterfinals in 2008. John Isner made the 4th round in 2009. And Sam “the man” Querrey made the 4th round in 08. I definitely would not be surprised to see at least one of these four guys, maybe two of them if we are lucky, sneak into the Quarterfinals. But do not expect one of them to take home the hardware. It would be one of the most improbable runs in history.
So there you have it. The biggest tennis tournament that America has to offer gets under way today. As the pro tour loves to say, “We will be seeing you in New York.”
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.