US Open 2014

From August 25th the worlds elite players will descend on the infamous Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York City to contest the last Grand Slam title of the season.

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Last years winner and defending champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the tournament with an injury to his wrist.That will be a relief to his competitors for sure. Despite a poor tournament at Wimbledon on Grass, Nadal had reached the final of the Australian Open and claimed his ninth crown at Roland Garros at the French Open so would have been a big threat. Argentine ace and 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro will be another absentee. He is also suffering from a wrist injury that has blighted his season.

The Contenders

Roger Federer has managed to produce something close to a resurgence recently enjoying a successful summer winning the Cincinatti Masters after an appearance in a grand slam final at Wimbledon on grass in which he took Djokovic to five sets. At the age of 33 this season may well be his best opportunity to win another Slam which would make it a record six US Open titles. His form of late suggests he could be in for a good tournament and there may well be some value in his odds.

Andy Murrays performances of late suggest that a third major victory may well be too big of an ask to achieve this year in what has been a largely disappointing season for the scotsman. Having come back from a back operation he has not been able to get back to the levels he was operating at in 2013 as of yet. I would expect another tough tournament for him as he struggles with multiple aspects of his game. New coach Amelie Mauresmo hasn’t yet been able to get a tune out of Murray although it may be still too early to judge the partnership bearing in mind the recovery process may have hindered him. The jury may be out though if he gets knocked out early on in a tournament the former US Open champion has claimed as one of his favourites. Although it would be a surprise due to form he has the ability and experience to turn it around.

The world number one Novak Djokovic will unsurprisingly enter the tournament as the favourite. The 27 year old Serbian is hitting his prime years and will be keen to add to his trophy collection with an eighth grand slam title. It has to be noted that he has not looked at his imperious best in the run in with a poor showing in the Emirates Airline US Open series. He bowed out in the round of 16 at the hands of Joe Wilfried Tsonga in Rogers Cup in Toronto and then was beaten by Tommy Rebredo in the Cincinatti Masters. However despite a concerning dip in form of late it may be more wise to look at his victories at the BNP Paribas Open/ Indian Wells and the Miami Masters earlier in the season- both are hard court American tournaments. The high bounce of the synthetic acrylic hard courts suits his relentless baseline play combined with his world class service return game. In addition, he has demonstrated an unbelievable consistency appearing in the last 4 US Open finals. He will surely not be lacking in motivation in the quest to regain the crown he won back in 2011 having lost in the final in the last 2 successive years (2013 to Nadal and 2012 to Murray).

The world number four ,Stanislas Wawrinka, took the Australian Open title for his first Major on the grand slam surface that is most similar to the US Open. He reached the Semi finals in 2013 and will be hoping to go one better this time, and with the confidence of a major title win under his belt he looks a dangerous prospect.

The big serving American John Isner will be a hard player to break given that he is a huge server standing at a giant 2.08m tall. The high bounce off the surface will give him a better chance at returning as well. Interestingly Isner has won 75 percent of his ATP titles stateside, making the 2011 quarter finalist a good bet to have a run to the latter stages of the competition with a home crowd behind him.

Milos Raonic the Canadian is another of  the big men in the slam. At 1.96 he is another player who possesses a lethal serve and his powerful baseline play will only be aided by the hardcourt service. It has been a very progressive season for Raonic who made the semi-finals at Wimbledon albeit on grass and the quarter finals at the French Open after a respectable 3rd round finish in the Australian Open in a close loss to Dimitrov over 5 sets.

Joe Wilfried Tsonga is also worth a look at as he beat Federer, Djokovic and Murray en route to a Rogers cup victory in Toronto and will go into this tournament with high confidence. A good run could be on the cards but it would most likely be a step too far for him to challenge for the title given that the major contenders will likely step their game up.

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