Rafael Nadal is on on a comeback spree after recovering from knee issues that kept him out of action for quite a long time.
His low point of the current season probably came during the first round defeat at Wimbledon.
However, post that embarrassing loss, the Spaniard has shown resilience and has since rocketed at the top of the charts to clinch his second US open crown. Rafa won his first title at the Flushing Meadows back in 2010 when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final.
That victory helped him achieve a career golden slam. The 27 year old will be gunning for his second major title of the year after his resurgence that has helped him to the second spot in the ATP rankings. Having said that, the road to the final will not be a smooth ride with a potential clash with Swiss ace Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.
As per the latest ATP rankings, Novak Djokovic is the best male tennis player in the world at the moment. Last year, Djokovic and eventual winner of the US Open title Andy Murray faced each other in what turned out to be the longest final of the tournament`s history.
Nole made up for the loss by beating the Scot at the Australian Open next year. This year, as per the draws, Nole wouldn`t be facing Murray in the championship showdown but a potential face-off in the semis is on.
The Serb, who has been given the top billing for the US Open, lost to Nadal in the semi-final of the French Open and then surrendered to Murray in straight sets at the Wimbledon final this year. Nevertheless, Djokovic is known for his never-say-die attitude and even though his victory at Australian Open seems a distant memory, he will be all fired up to win the final majors title of the year and clinch his second US Open title.
Andy Murray`s last three major finals have been against a certain Serb. He was won two of them and lost one. This year, provided everything goes well for the Scot and the Serb, they will lock horns in the last-four of the US Open that has the making of a mouthwatering encounter.
He has so far won two major titles – one of them being Wimbledon which has raised his profile by several notches. Murray has been seeded third for the event and it will be a new territory for him since he starts as the defending champion of a major tournament for the first time in his career.
The past 12 months have changed Murray`s career and he looks more confident to add another major title to his kitty. He should not have much trouble till quarterfinals but afterwards, he`ll have to raise his game to stamp his authority.
Juan Martin del Potro
At Wimbledon this year, Juan Martin del Potro reminded us why he was touted as the next big thing in the world of tennis. In the semi-final, he gave Novak Djokovic a fight to remember with the Serb himself acknowledging his game after eventually winning the encounter.
The Argentine has one major trophy to show in his career so far and that too at the Flushing Meadows which he won defeating Roger Federer in 2009 when the Swiss ace was in his prime.
However, a wrist surgery saw him unable to fulfill the expectations he had raised after winning his maiden Grand Slam title. But slowly and steadily he is making his way back up to the top echelons of the men`s tennis.
Del Potro loves playing on the hardcourt and he looked quiet confident of his chances at the US Open when he said he is ready to pull another surprise at the event.
For five straight years beginning 2004, Roger Federer literally owned US Open. He last silverware at the Flushing Meadows came in 2009. He last won a major title in 2012 and hasn`t won any in the current season. Experts are describing this as the most difficult and testing phase of his glorious career. Some, like John McEnroe, believe he is done and can`t win another major title.
His performance in the past few months indicates so during which he has unsuccessfully tried playing with a bigger racket which failed to turn the tide in his favour. Consequently, his current ranking has plummeted to seven – his worst in the past decade.
However, such is the aura and record of the Swiss that no matter what stage of the career he is in, one cannot count him completely out of contention for a title. He showed flashes of is old self at Cincinnati Open. It would be a surprise if he manages to add another major title to his kitty at the US Open but at the same time it is not something unthinkable of.