Ah, the US Open, I have been waiting all year for this tournament to start! I’m on the West Coast and the USO is on the East, so 3 hour difference – better than 17, 9, and 8 hours difference. Last year, Rafael Nadal completed his first career grand slam by beating Novak Djokovic in 4 sets, 6–4, 5–7, 6–4, 6–2. This year, I’m hoping it will be different and we’ll crown a new US Open Champion.
Since the draws have not been released yet, I can’t make my official predictions yet, so I’ll warm you up with my favorite picks for the tournament. Not just one player, rather, my top picks as US Open Champion contenders in the men’s field:
- Novak Djokovic- The obvious choice for most of the world. If I had to put money on picking the 2011 US Open Champion, I would go “all in” on Nole. He’s really come to form with his tennis game this year. He’s already won 2 Majors so far, Australia and Wimbledon, so why wouldn’t he win the USO? He’s always done well in Flushing Meadows, reaching two finals and two semi finals in the last four years. What could possibly stop him? I would have to go with Roger Federer, who recently turned 30, Happy Birthday by the way Roger, why? Roger could be nearing the end of his tennis rope, therefore he’s go nothing to lose, so I expect him to take it to Djokovic if they were to meet.
- Rafael Nadal- Back in the #2 spot, where he had been for the longest time, Nadal wants that top spot back oh so badly, so he’s going to put in all the hard work to defend his USO trophy. He too will have to get past the red hot Novak Djokovic, however; Rafa will have plenty of work ahead of him I’m sure. Will his body hold up with the wear and tear it has endured this year? Probably, will he be able to out-hit the rest of the field, absolutely. It’s hard to foresee what could stop him other than Djokovic, however; I’m starting to see more and more players picking up on his massive spin.
- Roger Federer- Why wouldn’t I pick Roger as a favorite? He’s only won the US Open title five times (and consecutive to boot) and is hungry for one more Major Title. Federer doesn’t quite have the dominance that he once did, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not playing well. In 2011, he’s played very well and has had some good runs reaching the Australian Open semifinals, and the French Open final. I’ve been watching Roger closely this year, seeing that he’s saving himself for something big, could it be this years US Open or 2012 Summer Olympics? Who knows, but he’s in my top 3 of potential 2011 USO winners.
- Mardy Fish- Ever since taking the top American spot on the rankings, Fish has been performing at his best. He’s already won one title and reached the final of another tennis tournament in the US Open Series. Mardy is in much better shape now than he was a few years back; the new and improved Mardy Fish plays with more confidence and authority. The potential of him doing well at the 2011 US Open is his record, he’s only reached the quarterfinals once (2008) and has had early round exit prior. His general lack of experience at the Majors will play a major mental factor for the American. However, the renewed tennis player could potentially pull off some magic and have a long life at the USO.
- Juan Martin Del Potro- DelPo has always been one of my favorites to win his matches. He is always exciting to watch, he’s got a big serve, huge ground strokes, and just looks like a really cool guy. He’s surprisingly quick on court and is an all around good player. Unfortunately, after his 2009 US Open victory, his wrist injury took him out of tennis and the top 10 for most of the 2010 tennis season. He’s been in pretty good form thus far in 2011, winning in Estoril and Delray; and reaching the semifinals at Indian Wells. If he’s in good physical health, Del Potro should be able to do really well, and he could be crowned again…just maybe.
You are probably wondering why I didn’t include the Andy’s (Murray & Roddick) in my US Open pick list…. Pretty much, I have very little confidence in either of those guys to get past the round of 16. Roddick is burnt out with constant injuries and the same game plan for every tennis match – which has been figured out by the competition. Murray has too much pressure on him from Great Britain. He’s an awesome player who should focus on separating his thoughts while he’s on the tennis court. Too much going on upstairs for Murray.
Right now, those are my top 5 favorites who can do well at the 2011 US Open, there are a bunch of other potentials that could come through but this post would end up putting me to sleep. I will be posting my 2011 US Open predictions when the draws come out.