With the US Open just round the corner, excitement is brewing among fans to see who sparkles at the Flushing Meadows this year.
As the first three Majors of the year have been won by three different individuals, it is but natural for fans to think of a new champion for the American Major too.
While the Australian Open saw the phenomenal rise of Stan Wawrinka, dominant Rafael Nadal was at his best at the Roland Garros. Novak Djokovic was the man in the All England’s Club at Wimbledon.
But then there’s news. There is no Rafa this year to defend his crown. So, the fourth and last Major of the year 2014 – US Open – will miss the mighty Spaniard. It seems injuries and Nadal go hand in hand! It’s not for the first time he has been ruled out of a Grand Slam due to injury. Over the years, we have seen the champion struggling with his own body, more than his opponents.
It was just prior to the event that Rafa let the news out. He sustained a wrist injury at a training schedule after Wimbledon this year, and won’t be able to defend his title.
This leads to an interesting clash at the US Open.
Djokovic is seeded number one, followed by Roger Federer at number two, Wawrinka is seeded number three, followed by David Ferrer.
While Djokovic and Federer won’t meet until the finals, Andy Murray, seeded eighth, has a big task ahead. After a spectacular 2012, he seems to have disappeared into oblivion.
On the other hand, Federer has had a remarkable comeback in 2014, where he reached the Wimbledon final and won the Cincinnati Masters recently. He also reached the finals of Rogers Cup, but lost to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Though the discussion of the Big Four has somewhat subsided, it is always the four – Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and Murray – who are the most talked about players for title contention at Majors.
Probably, records are at stake when they win. Federer is now hungry for his 18th title, Novak for the second Major for this year. Murray needs some more wins to get his confidence back, after his recovery from the surgery last year.
Though he made it to the semi-finals of this year`s French Open, he couldn’t go beyond the quarter-finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Also, around the periphery, some other names are doing the rounds these days – Spaniard David Ferrer, Canadian Milos Raonic, Czech Tomas Berdych and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. Frenchman Tsonga would be on a high after winning the Rogers Cup, though he is yet to produce that winning play at Majors, other than causing upsets in the earlier rounds. Another man with rising expectations is the Japanese Kei Nishikori. He has played some spectacular matches over the last few months, raising his own standards each time. Hopes would be high on Dimitrov too. The young man has had quite eventful Majors this year.
With Nadal out of contention, one thing is for sure – a tough competition awaits players. A new champ is just a fortnight away!