Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Open" for business...see what I did there?

Yes, it is indeed that time of year again. Screw football, I'm talking about a real sport: Tennis. Well, real to me.

The U.S. Open, the last of the four "majors" of tennis, is indeed upon us. It couldn't have come at a more exciting time either, given the current state of (men's) tennis. While I know most of you are avid followers of the sport, allow me to enlighten all those n00bs out there.

In the past calender year, the sport of (men's) tennis has been cast from it's curse of predictability into utter disarray. Let's break it
down chronologically:
  • July 2008: World #2 Rafael Nadal defeats World #1 Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final winning his first non-French Open grand slam.
  • August 2008: Rafael Nadal takes over the top spot in the rankings, unseating Roger Federer after his record-breaking run of 237 consecutive weeks at #1.
  • January 2009: Rafael Nadal defeats Federer in the final of the Australian Open (the first slam of the year), confirming his status as #1.
Now, at this point, it seemed almost as if Fed's time had passed. He was undoubtedly the second best tennis player on earth, but he had hit an immovable force named Rafa. Even he thought his era had come to a close (as evidenced by his crying on court after losing the Australian Open).
Not so fast...
  • May 2009: Rafael Nadal inexplicably loses in the fourth round of the French Open (a tournament at which he had NEVER lost...ever) to...Robin Soderling??? (we learn later that Rafa was battling tendonitis and ended up taking 10 weeks off) Sure enough, Roger Federer takes advantage and suddenly redeems his year by winning the only Grand Slam that had, up to that point, eluded him. In the process, he added his name to a list of only 5 men who have won all four majors in their careers and garnered his 14th grand slam titles tying the record holder Pete Sampras.
  • July 2009: After Nadal pulls out due to injury, Federer reclaims his Wimbeldon title, but not before Andy Roddick puts up a monumental fight in a 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 match that goes down in history as the longest Wimbeldon final ever as measured by total games played. As a result, Fed reclaims the #1 spot in the rankings and becomes the record holder with 15 major titles to his name.
  • August 2009: Nadal finally returns from injury but not at 100%. Meanwhile, Andy Murray, from Great Britain (Scotland to be exact), has a lights-out summer and claws his way to #2, dropping Nadal to #3.
So, here's where we stand as far as "contenders" for this year's open.
  • #1 Fed has won the open 5 straight times and, in the year of his redemption, is looking like he's in good position to tie the record of 6 consecutive titles.
  • #2 Andy Murray is having an amazing run and, after making it to the U.S. Open Final last year, wants to finish the job and has the resume to back it up (currently he has a 6-3 career record against Fed, with all 6 wins coming on hard courts).
  • #3 Rafa Nadal has said himself that he does not expect to be a contender this year due to the rust he acquired during his hiatus...but is he simply lowering expectations?
  • #4 Novak Djokovic has been under the radar lately but did make it to the finals of the biggest non-slam tournament leading up to the U.S. Open (Cincinnati).
  • #5 Andy Roddick is in the top 5 again for the first time in years and looking for vengeance after a huge disappointment at Wimbledon. Don't be surprised if he takes Federer out in the quarterfinals this year. Each time they've played A-Rod has gotten closer and closer to's time he finally took one home.
  • #6 Juan Martin Del Potro: You've never heard of him (he's the person you've never seen in the picture to the right), though he's been arguably the second best player this summer (behind Murray) and has a chance to go far, he ain't gonna win it.
Excited yet? Likely not because there's a good chance you never even got this far in the post. That said, here are my bold and not so bold calls for the Open:
  1. Watch out for the 22nd seeded American Sam Querry, who hits a falling star in #8 Nikolay Davydenko in the 4th round. My prediction: Querry takes the match in 4 sets and goes on to face (and lose to) Federer in the Quarterfinals.
  2. Andy Roddick hits #4 Djokovic in the Quarterfinals. My prediction: Roddick wins the match in 4 sets and hits Federer in the Semi-Finals. If he finds a way to take down Fed with the crowd behind him, he wins the whole thing...but that's a BIG "if".
  3. My final call: Despite my red, white and blue blood (Go Andy!), it's a rematch of the 2008 final with the same result...Roger over Andy Murray in the final (4 sets). Long live the king.


SSGilly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeremy Peters said...

Fairly sure that I know exactly who the writer of this post is.

SSGilly said...

prove it