Rafael Nadal was never supposed to succeed at the Flushing Meadows, he was born for clay and he had conquered the red dirt ruthlessly. But there he was, the Spanish Bull, marching his way and clinically removing his opponents to win the third US Open title, his 16th Major (just three behind Roger Federer).
In Rafa’s way he’s “very happy, no?” A year which turned out to be one of the best seasons for him. Biter of two Grand Slams and appearance in three finals, Rafa Nadal couldn’t have asked for a better season after two years of intermittent injuries. But this is Nadal we are talking about, he finds a way, he always has. His passion for the game prevails, his hunger for slams prevails and his motivation to play with confidence prevails.
The 2017 US Open promised another Fedal epic, as both Rafa and Roger were placed in the same draw and were set up to meet in the semi-final. But then came along Juan Martin del Potro (2009 winner) who aggressively defeated Federer and crushed the hopes of first ever Fedal match up in the US Open. When Nadal met del Potro in the semifinal, it took four sets including a bagel for Rafa to eliminate the Argentine. In the final, though not a thrilling one, Nadal comfortably defeated 28 seeded Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. Such was his dominance that only in the last game did Rafa reach deuce on his serve.
The year has been extra emotional for the Spaniard. Rafa thanked his uncle Toni, who was watching his last slam with him as coach. “Without him I would never be playing tennis. It is great I had someone like him pushing me all the time. He had great motivation to practise with me since I was a kid. He is for sure one of the most important people in my life.” Uncle Toni, as all the fans love to call him, has been with Rafa since the age of three. He has been the maestro behind Nadal’s psyche, character and all in all the Rafa we see today.
2017 season was the year of Fedal resurgence. The last slam had provided a golden opportunity for the new kids like Alexander Zverev, Denis Shapovalov, Dominic Thiem, Borna Coric but all failed to cover the distance. This also makes us question us how the future of tennis will look like when the two legends finally bid goodbye to the game. But for now, the two are happy, neatly splitting the four majors among themselves.
After weeks of uncertainty and indecision, Andy Murray has decided to not undergo a hip surgery for his damaged right hip and rely best on an extended period of rehabilitation and rest to solve the problem. As a consequence, Murray will be unable to play again this season.
In a statement released on September 6, 2017 Murray stated, “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to compete in the upcoming events in Beijing and Shanghai, and most likely, the final two events to finish the season in Vienna and Paris due to my hip injury which has been bothering me the last few months. Having consulted with a number of leading hip specialists over the last week, along with my own team, we have decided that this is the best decision for my long-term future.”
Coincidentally, all three major winners from 2016 including Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have finished their 2017 seasons post Wimbledon, enduring and playing through pain during the grass court season.
The high rate of absence in the men’s draw for the US Open is giving more grounds to the debate of tennis as a sport needs to address the intensity its seasons. But in spite of this, the Association of Tennis Professionals insisted that injuries reported to the physiotherapists have shown no dramatic increase in the numbers.
News Source: Telegraph, Tennis Magazine
Image Source: Getty images
The moment US Open men’s draw was put up, tennis fans had their eyes and minds on just one match. A potential first Fedal match up in the US Open. Both were placed in the same half of the draw and could have met in the semi-final.
Then came along 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro, who played the match of the tournament in the fourth round against Dominic Thiem to face Roger Federer in the quarterfinal. Nadal had already played his part by defeating 19-year-old Rublev in his quarterfinal match.
Federer was looking forward to take revenge of 2009 final lost against del Potro but boy oh boy, what took place in Arthur Ashe Stadium, saw a complete dismantle of Federer. The quarterfinal score read 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8), 6-4.
Well aware that he was the only one stopping from a Fedal match up, the Argentine gave his all. This is the second time del Potro has stood in the way of a Fedal matchup at the US Open. He also did it in 2009 when he beat Nadal in a semi-final and went on to win the Championship against Federer in a five-set final.
“I played my best match of the tournament,” del Potro said in an on-court interview. “I did everything well. I served so good and hit my forehand as hard as I can.”
News Sources- US Open, The New York Times
It was at the 2016 Australian Open when she was tested positive for the banned heart medication Meldonium after losing to Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Although her suspension ended in April, physical ailments have plagued her comeback all summer. She couldn’t play the qualifying tournament at Wimbledon because of a left thigh injury, pulled out of both Toronto and Cincinnati tournaments due to a left forearm tweak. The U.S. Tennis Association, as a courtesy to a former champion, gave her a wild card entry into the Grand slam and she played her first match back like she never ever left.
She was slated to play current world No. 2 Simona Halep of Romania against whom she has a head to head record of 6-0. This match showed why that record is so one sided. Maria’s serve was precise, she was hitting each angle perfectly and she easily covered more ground than her opponent. But Halep was not going to let this match go so easy since the stakes were even higher for her. She was one of seven women who was vying for the coveted world No.1 position. She fought with vigour but eventually surrendered the match 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to Sharapova in what was a thrilling match.
At the end of the match Sharapova was quoted saying, “Despite not playing a lot of matches coming into this, it almost seemed like I had no right to win this match today. And I somehow did. I think that is what I’m most proud of. I felt like my team and I have been through a lot. Since I’ve come back, I feel like I’m on a team. You know, I’m not just winning for myself, but I’m winning for everyone that has stood behind me. That is a very special feeling to have.”
The last Grand Slam of the year US Open will start from Monday 28 August. The draw ceremony for the same took place at US Open Experience in Manhattan’s Seaport District on Friday.
The tournament will see the return of former World No.1 Maria Sharapova. The 2006 US Open Champion will start the tournament against the No.2 seeded Simona Halep. The tournament could potentially witness a first US Open matchup between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
Let’s have a close look at the draw
Current World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are both placed in the top half of the draw and could invite a thrilling semi-final if both manage to stay in the tournament. This could be the first meeting between the two at the Flushing Meadows.
Nadal will start the tournament against Serbian’s Dusan Lajovic and could potentially face No. 26 seed Richard Gasquet in the third round and No.15 seed Tomas Berdych in the Round of 16.
No. 3 seeded Roger Federer will face Frances Tiafoe in the first round and could possibly face No. 14 seed Nick Kyrgois in second round and No. 17 seed Sam Querry in the fourth round. By the looks of it, Federer has a tough road on his way to capture his 20th Grand Slam. The Swiss master could face Juan Martin del Potro in the quarter final.
Second seeded and former World No.1 Andy Murray is placed in the bottom half of the draw and will face Tennys Sandgren in his first round. If all goes well for the former 2012 US Open Champion, hewill be up against either Lucas Pouille or David Ferrer in the Round of 16 and a quarter-final set up against No.8 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In the women’s draw former Champion Maria Sharapova will attract attention as she will be returning to a Grand Slam after her 2016 Australian Open appearance followed by her ban over substance abuse. She will start her tournament against No.2 seed Simona Halep.
No.1 seeded Pliskova is up against Poland’s Linette and is placed in the upper half of the draw. The potential quarterfinals in the bottom half could be Johanna Kontana against Sharpova or Halep, Grabine Muguruza against Caroline Wozniacki or ten time major Champion Venus Williams.
The absence of Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka will help open up the tournament but also give an opportunity for the youunger players to step up.
Sourced from US Open
Milos Raonic has become the latest addition to the list of top players who have hauled out of the US Open. He confirmed to have undergone a procedure on his left wrist.
The Canadian is currently positioned on the eleventh spot and also finished as the runner up at Wimbledon last year. He declared his withdrawal from the last Grand Slam of the year last night on Instagram
Raonic will follow the likes of 12 time major champion Novak Djokovic , 2016 UO Open Champion Stan Wawrinka and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori in being an absentee from the tournament due to injuries.
Likewise sitting out the activity at Flushing Meadows will be the 23 Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams, who is pregnant, and two-time Australian Open Champion Victoria Azarenka, who is fighting a custody battle with the father of her child.
The US Open is scheduled to start from Monday.
Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka will face each other on Sunday night to get their hands on the US Open title. The world number one defeated 10th seeded Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in the semi-final. With this win Djokovic will play his sixth US Open final in last seven years.
Both Djokovic and Monfils struggled under the heat and humidity of New York, resulting into Coke break for Monfils and shredding of t-shirt for Djokovic. In a post-match interview, Djokovic acknowledged that this US Open has been unique for him with three retirements on his way to the final. Having spend less time on the court, he will be tested in the final match against Wawrinka.
In the other semi-final match, Stan Wawrinka won against sixth seeded Kei Nishikori who stunned Andy Muray in the previous match. Stan marched into his first US Open final with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Kei. Stan came out strong on big points, saving 11 out of 15 break points.
Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion and 2015 French Open winner, will look forward to win his third Grand Slam, drawing with Andy Murray. Head to head, Djokovic leads Wawrinka 19-4, but the Swiss crushed Djokovic in the French Open final last year, the only Grand Slam final the two players have played against each other.