By: Marvin Azrak
The 2022 US Open draw was released and pantomimes the prolepsis of what many laud as the “Slam of Slams.” Firstly, contrary to there being a “King of grass” in Rodger Federer and a “King of clay” in Rafael Nadal, nobody has ever been dubbed “King of hard court,” which makes a tournament like this excitedly capricious. Second, it’s debilitating for the players who have battled daily for nine months dating back to opening day in January, and enter a gauntlet of seven best of five matches that can make or break a season in New York City, “Media capital” of the world. Naturally, the draws feature top of the crop who are readily able excluding injuries and unfortunately once unvaxer.
That would be Novak Djokovic, who, akin to the Australian Open, was forced to withdraw due to his unvaccinated status, which is baffling to me. There will be hundreds of fans and players who flock to Rockefeller center over the coming weeks, and this includes unvaccinated non-citizens. The world’s top player can’t join the party because he’s traveling abroad. Djokovic encompassed last year, and we’re another 12 months removed from the pandemic at the height of its powers nationwide in 2020, so make this make sense to me? Even Australian player John Millman, who will miss the upcoming slam due to contracting COVID-19 and is indeed vaccinated, had this to say about the situation. “I’m out with covid. I was just in the states, and it didn’t feel like too many followed any recommendations or guidelines. Which is fine, but I can’t see why Novak can’t come and compete.”
“I believe that seeing the strongest player in history being out of the top 20 at the end of the year is not good for tennis,” Italian star Flavio Cobolli said in a recent interview with OA sports, obtained by newsweek.com.
In my opinion, it is right to let him play in America.” Unvaccinated. American and open participant Tennis Sandgren ruled it was “unfair” to rule out the 21-time grand slam champion because he’s from Serbia. ; “No surprise the government hasn’t changed its archaic policy, I can play but he can’t? Ridiculous.”
Nobody would blame Djokovic if he goes to the border and buses his way here, and yes, while it’s unlikely to happen, support would undoubtedly be behind the Serbian. But as they say, the “Show must go on.” While we will sorely miss Novak, as he was in Australia when he was deported two days before play began, the 142nd edition of this prestigious event projects to portray mouthwatering matchups that tennis fans have yearned for on the big stage. Today, we look at those possibilities preexisting play officially underway come Monday.
SERENA VS THE FIELD:
For Williams, it will be her swan song. From when she takes the court to clash with 80th-ranked Dana Kovinic in her first-round singles match and anticipates her pursuit of doubles title #15 with Venus in addition to her four gold medals, the 23-time grand slam singles champion will embroil into a sentimental atmosphere fit for the all-time tennis queen that she is. At 41, she’s unexpected to make a run, and oddsmakers have the unseeded American at over/under 1.5 wins this tournament since world NO 2 Anett Kontaveit has been shaky of late. Nevertheless, Williams will arrogate the proper sendoff on her home soil with the crowd basking in every last ball that comes off her racket.
RADACANU VS OSAKA (Women’s third round)
Any meeting between two former US Open champions will draw attention, and we may get one with 2021 winner Emma RADACANU and 2018, 2020 successor.
Naomi Osaka. The 19-year-old from Great-Britan became the first qualifier to win a slam.
However, she’s been hampered due to injuries compromising her rigmarole. As for Osaka, she took a break from
Tennis last year citing mental health issues. However, both have returned and are anxious to begin play.
DANIL MEDVEDEV VS BEN SHELTON (Men’s 3rd round)
The world NO 1 and defending champ would’ve likely gone through an American in Stefan Koslov, who’s his first round opponent, and Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech in the round of 64, but Shelton could present a seismic challenge to the Russian, as the authenticity of the 19-year-old American may give Medvedev trouble on these rapid courts in breezy conditions, not to mention the crowd will be heavily backing their countryman.
CARLOS ALCARAZ VS BORNA CORIC (Mens singles 3rd round)
Alcaraz burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old last year, disquieting Stephanos Tstipas in the third round en route to a second-week appearance. He hasn’t looked back and enters the fortnight as the world NO3, with fans dubbing the Spaniard “Mini Rafa” as his relentless fortitude on court bethink that. Pressure comes with being the favorite as a teenager, thus opening the door for a hot star in Croatian Borna Coric to potentially upend him in the round of 32.
Borna Coric in the second round. The 25-year-old ranked 25th in the world vindicated Rafael Nadal. 3 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in two hours and 51 minutes at the Cincinnati Open last week, antecedents conquests world NO 9 Felix-Auger- Aliassimem and world NO7 Stephanos Tstipas, ultimately accumulating to his first ATP 1000 victory. The defeat was Rafa’s primeval’s in roughly six campaigns down in Ohio. Coric wriggles Flushing as the hottest player on tour and is due for a mainstay which may constitute tackling the teenage portent.
POTENTIAL MEN’S QUARTERFINAL MATCHES:
Danil Medvedev (1) vs (6) Felix-Auger- Aliassimem:
The storyline would be the champ vs. the top-ranked Canadian seeking his first semifinal appearance at a slam.
Stephanos Tstipas (4) vs Casper Ruud (5)
Both are French open finalists victimized by Djokovic and Nadal, so the meeting guarantees one would crack the final four again.
Carlos Alacaraz (3) vs Hubert Hurkaz (8)
In reality, this would be viewed as more of a formality for Carlos as the hope would be a quick victory and an all-Spanish clash with his mentor Nadal in the semifinals.
Rafael Nadal (2) vs Cameron Norrie (7)
Norrie was a Wimbledon semifinalist, but it remains to be seen how his game will translate to the new york hard courts, so reaching this stage would be an enormous accomplishment. Meanwhile, Nadal’s fragile body tends to break down towards the end of tournaments, so a fresh and potent Norrie could give him a battle after Nadal scampers through his week one slate.
FIVE FOR ONE:
Rafael Nadal, Danil Medvedev, Carlos Alcaraz, and Casper Ruud can walk away with the US Open and world NO1 trophy should they emerge as the last man standing.
Per ATP.com, “If Nadal plays Medvedev in the championship match or Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Ruud face Alcaraz for the title, the winner will leave New York as World No. 1. ” That would be a rematch of the 2019 finals. In this year’s Australian Open finale, Nadal ousted Medvedev in five enrapturing sets rallying from an 0-2 deficit in Melbourne last January. As he should, the 22-time significant champion currently possesses all the cards; as per ATP, “If Nadal reaches the semi-finals, one of the other four players in contention must win the title to finish on top after the Open.”
Let the games begin!