With the US Open on the horizon at the end of the month, the tennis world is gearing up for the dramatic conclusion to the 2014 Grand Slam season. So far it has been an unpredictable and exciting season of professional tennis, and I would expect the same for this upcoming event. Here are 5 intriguing US Open stories to keep your eye on ahead of this marvelous tournament:
1. Will Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams come back healthy to defend their crowns?
Both among the Men’s and Women’s top ranked players, this pair has dealt with injuries that have derailed what could have been incredible years. Williams has had an especially rough time and hasn’t taken a single major tournament. She seems to be healthy now and in good form so perhaps this US Open can be her moment. Nadal is currently nursing a wrist injury and needs to recover quickly for this tournament, and despite his usual French Open victory hasn’t had much else to celebrate.
2. Can Canadians Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard win their first Grand Slam?
While it is the 2014 US Open, there’s no doubt that the proximity to Canada makes this nearly a home event for players of that country. Both Raonic and Bouchard have burst onto the scene and have been knocking at the door at major tournaments. Will this be the moment that one of them finally emerges as superstars and takes a Grand Slam?
3. Is Roger Federer Finished?
When Federer collapsed at the end of the Wimbledon final, it felt as though that was his last chance to win a Grand Slam. He has just turned 33 and is well into the twilight of his career. It’s been two full years since he won a big event and while he still usually does well, there is serious doubt as to whether he’s got another big title left in him. This US Open would be a tremendous time for Federer to nab a final Grand Slam title, especially at an event that he’s won 5 times! At least he believes he can win another.
4. Will a single player win multiple Grand Slams this year?
No player has been able to win two Grand Slams this year, and there’s increasing doubt that anyone will do it. While this does present an exciting situation in which high competition exists, it also could leave fans with the feeling that no one has taken over and taken the top reigns of the sport. Is there anyone capable of doing it? Perhaps Novak Djokovic or Nadal could, or maybe Maria Sharapova?
5. Is there an American capable of winning the US Open?
While the obvious bet of Serena Williams seems likeliest, could we see victories by John Isner or Sloane Stephens to discover a new American tennis hero? Both players are decently ranked but often fall short of expectations. Isner still needs to handle play without relying too heavily on his serve while Stephens needs to maintain a stronger focus to really take that next step.
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