The 2013 US Open tennis is set to be one of the most hotly contested Grand Slams in years. Over the past decade or so we’ve always had a strong favourite heading into the men’s draw, yet with the decline of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal’s unpredictable fitness and recent disappointment on the hard surface for Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, this Slam really is wide open.
Djokovic is narrow favourite to win this title but Murray is close behind him. Nadal, who clinched the Rogers Cup title last Sunday, proved his knees can handle the hard surface and many tennis punters expect the Spaniard to perform this August. As for Federer, the Swiss has a slim chance of clinching an 18th Slam but in reality has no hope.
If fans are looking for a long punt to place, then either Juan Martin del Potro or the exciting Jerzy Janowicz are far more likely to impress under the New York sun. While Del Potro proved his steel at Wimbledon, Janowicz’s semi-final berth at SW19 suggests the Pole is ready to push on to another level.
The top-four domination of the men’s draw is about to come to a close as the chasing pack catch up to an ageing quartet and Janowicz is the man to bridge the gap.
Over in the women’s field, many of the top players in the WTA will fancy their chances against a Serena Williams who stuttered at Wimbledon. Despite Williams’ Rogers Cup win last week, her opponents know she can be beaten and the best bet for the US Open crown is certainly Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian is superb on hard, having won back-to-back Australian Open crowns, and is set to peak in New York this summer.
Li Na, meanwhile, will hope her run to the Melbourne final in January helps her cause at Flushing Meadows, while both Sabine Lisicki and Sloane Stephens are young newcomers aiming to prove their mettle on the Grand Slam stage. While the women’s draw grows in competitiveness, there should be no room for Maria Sharapova, who has proven her limitations as a hard-court player this season.