Alright, the 2011 US Open is officially under way! I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get here! The USO is by far the most popular tennis tournaments in the world, and it’s probably the best two weeks of my year, every year. This year however, is somewhat special; this year the playing field is not dominated by the usual suspects (Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters). This year there is a chance for a new champion – on the men’s side that is – on the womens there is a possibility of past champions regaining their titles.
With every tennis tournament there is always going to be a handful of heavy favorites that most every spectator pulls for. This year is not much different than years past, defending champion Rafael Nadal is a favorite, as well as 5-time US Open champ Roger Federer, however; Novak Djokovic the 2 time finalist is in hot pursuit of capturing his first US Open title.
Djokovic is the heaviest favorite of the men’s field for obvious reasons. He’s had a remarkable year so far, two major titles, 5 masters 1000 titles, #1, a 100% winning record in finals in one season, and being able to beat his long time rivals Federer and Nadal on a consistent basis. Djokovic is by far more likely to reach the finals again and likely to take home the 2011 US Open title. All Djokovic needs to do to win it is beat everybody that he faces, how though? Remaining as he has the last 9 months, play with purpose and pure confidence, he’s smart enough, powerful enough, and fast enough to take on the heaviest of hitters and quickest of opponents.
Roger Federer is also considered one of the heavy favorites, he’s won the US Open title 5 times in a row, reached 2009’s final, and what could potentially be his final year at the US Open (he is, after all 30). What a way to finish the year for Federer, to win the 2011 US Open title. He’s going to have along tough road ahead of him, potentially facing players he’s lost to this year already – a potential meeting with Tsonga in the quarterfinals (2 losses to Tsonga in 2011 – Wimbledon & Canada). To win this title, Federer will have be extremely aggressive and attack when he can, there is no room for him to be passive and hang around the baseline these days.
Of course there is the 2010 US Open champion, Rafael Nadal as a favorite – why wouldn’t he be right? Nadal has been a little streaky this year, unable to defend some of his 2010 title this year; losing mostly to Novak Djokovic. Rafael should do just fine this year, but he’s going to have to play smart tennis and not allow himself get into long rallies where he tends to make groundstroke errors. If he hits his massive spin – I have to plug his tennis string here Babolat RPM Blast 17 – and pushes his opponents back and out wide, Nadal should be just fine.
I can’t forget to include American Mardy Fish, Fish has had a spectacular 2011 tennis season, he’s climbed up the ATP rankings reaching a career high #7. Mardy has been consistent in his tennis, playing smooth and smart tennis, forcing his opponents come up with errors. Fish has a lot of potential to go the distance at the 2011 US Open, however; he might face some inside issues, the pressure – he’s the favorite American for the first time, only reaching the quarterfinals once in his career (2008), and of course the gentlemen mentioned above. I have a good feeling Mardy Fish will have a good run this year.
On the women’s side of the 2011 US Open favorites is 2006 champion, Maria Sharapova. After a 2008 rotator cuff injury that sidelined her for the rest of the tennis season, Sharapova came back in 2009. Her form was obviously not up to champion status, but she prevailed and fought her way back into the top 10 in 2011. She made a few changes in her game, starting with her tennis racquet, she switched from Prince EXO3 Black to Head’s YouTek Instinct – an unusual switch after a decade with Prince. Regardless of the tennis equipment Maria is using, she’s been kicking butt this year and she has a really good chance of recapturing her US Open title, if she stays aggressive and leaves her double faults at the hotel on game day.
I don’t want to leave out 3 time champion Serena Williams, no matter how I feel about her on court demeanor, I can’t argue that her tennis ability is what makes her a heavy favorite this year at the Open. She could very well make a run to the final, but it will be a long fought battle for her, she’s going to face some hard opponents on her side of the draw. If she uses her power, keeps mentally cool, and doesn’t foot fault she has potential to win this year.
2010 US Open runner-up Vera Zvonareva has the potential to take home the 2011 US Open title, however; she like Serena will have to keep her emotions in check. Vera has been one to have a complete meltdown on court and lose the match, if she can overcome the inner demons she has the ability to close the big matches she will face.
Obviously there are many other favorites to win the 2011 US Open, however; I mentioned the heaviest favorites of the tennis field and I could go on for hours why they could potentially win, but that’s going to bore you and my fingers would get tired anyway. In any event, the 2011 USO is going to be the best two weeks of the year for me, and I look forward to every match that I can catch.