Lights, camera, action! We are well into the second week at the 2011 US Open, and the most entertaining slam of the year is really heating up. Since Tuesday was completely rained out, an amazing Wednesday schedule of both fourth round and quarterfinal matches is being served. The next five days does not get any more exciting for tennis fans…assuming the rain holds out!!
Now Tennis En Fuego takes a closer look at the some of the challengers that remain. Who are the contenders and who are the pretenders?
Novak Djokovic – Wouldn’t a third major this year only make sense for the Djoker? He has accomplished everything else possible in 2011 with the exception of winning the French Open. So far his game has been razor sharp, but keep in mind that Djokovic has yet to be truly tested. Will his overflowing confidence and free swinging game succomb to the possible pressure of playing a Nadal or Federer in the final rounds? Unlikely.
Roger Federer – The five time US Open champion is not short on any confidence at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Then again, if I had won a tournament five times, I would feel good playing there too. However, winning majors in your 30s is never an easy task for anyone unless your last name is Agassi. But this is Roger Federer we are talking about. The man can do anything on a tennis court, and this includes the ability to win a sixth US Open!
Andy Murray – This Andy has been my pick to win the tournament from the very beginning. Let’s be honest, his only true weakness his his head. Murray has every shot in the book, and then some. Not to mention he also possesses supreme fitness and a hunger to win a major unlike his other top counterparts. As long as he keeps it together mentally, I believe Murray will finally his place in grand slam history and end the everlasting drought of a British champion.
Jo Wilfried Tsonga – Mr. Tsonga was also my dark horse pick from the very beginning. His big game is suited for the US Open, and I find it surprising he has never shown great results in the past. However, a run to the Wimbledon semifinal this summer and two impressive wins over Federer has me buying the Tsonga stock. The Frenchman can outright crush serves and forehands (are you listening Roddick?) all the way to victory against any opponent he faces. The question will be whether or not Tsonga really feels it and believes he can be a grand slam winner. We will find out very soon with the quarterfinal clash with King Federer.
Andy Roddick – I really wish I could believe Roddick has a chance to win the US Open, and I think he wishes it too. Roddick seems very grateful to have at least made it this far, considering his recent pesky injuries and lack of matchplay going into the Open. Luckily the draw has been kind to him, but he will face a monumental test in trying to take down David Ferrer. Roddick will have to catch lightning in a bottle to get passed the fourth round, which I consider unlikely since he has failed to do so the entire year.
Rafael Nadal – No this is not a typo. Although I am a huge Nadal fan, I just do not see him playing at the level he was last year when he triumphed to the 2010 US Open winners circle and completed the career Grand Slam. Nor has he brought the MPH’s on the serve like he did a year ago. In addition let’s face it, Rafa’s confidence has been rattled this year by Djokovic. His chances would increase if he didn’t have to face him again in a possible final. Of course you can never count out the hardest competitor in tennis… but sorry Rafa, this is not your year at Flushing Meadows.