US Open Series heating up: Welcome back Roger and Rafa
by Abe Kuijl | August 6th, 2007, 4:36 pm

The US Open Series is entering its fourth week, but for many tennis fans, they haven’t truly started up until this point. Is there anything organisers could have done to prevent this mindset? Not really, because the casual tennis fan only cares about events Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are playing in, and they only appear at the two big warm-ups in Canada and Cincinnati before heading to Flushing Meadows. Of course when you’re Rafael Nadal, you add a post-Wimbledon clay court event in Europe to your schedule. Much better than going on a road trip, no?

Meanwhile the ladies have had their first major event of the summer over in San Diego last week, where Maria Sharapova played her best tennis of the season to storm through the field. Sharapova was solid from the back court and she looks to have refound the confidence in her serve now that her shoulder isn’t bothering her anymore. There were some slight lapses in her game against Chakvetadze in the semis and in her final against Schnyder, but she should become more consistent by playing more matches. Sharapova will feature in LA this week and then head to Toronto straight after, but don’t count on the Russian to make the trip to Canada if she goes deep this week. She still needs to take it easy on her body.

Unlike 99% of the WTA Tier I events, most of the ATP Masters Series actually feature ALL top players. As is the case in Montreal, where the entire Top 20 is entered in the event.

With the return of the game’s two biggest assets in Federer and Nadal, there are a bunch of questions that have been a hot topic ever since Wimbledon. Will Nadal form a serious threat to Federer over the US summer circuit? How will Federer fare on the hard courts now, after his disappointing spring season at Indian Wells and Miami? Can Novak Djokovic become a real threat for Rafa and Roger? And how succesful will Andy Murray’s return be?

Looking at the draw, we have a potential blockbuster second round coming up in Safin vs. Nadal. Interestingly enough, the two have never met before. Either way, Nadal will get a tough start to the hard court season. If Safin loses his opener, Rafa will face his good friend from Wimbledon, hard-hitting Swede Robin Soderling.

Talking about first time encounters, how’s this for a highly anticipated match-up: Andy Roddick is scheduled to meet Novak Djokovic in the quarters. The Djoker could really position himself as the No.3 player he feels he is with a win here.

Roger Federer will start his campaign against the winner of the serving contest between Max Mirnyi and Ivo Karlovic. I’ll pick Dr.Ivo in two tiebreaks. Should Roger survive the Croatian bombing in the second round, Andy Murray looks to be a lock as his third round opponent, if the Scotsman is indeed fully fit. Federer will be keen on getting back at Murray after his straight set loss to the Briton in Cincinnati last year.

Lleyton Hewitt has already beaten Juan Carlos Ferrero in an entertaining match, and I’m liking his chances to beat Blake next and advance to meet Federer in the quarters.

The second quarter is pretty open with Nikolay Davydenko, Fernando Gonzalez, Mikhail Youzhny and Tommy Haas. Not to forget Los Angeles champ Radek Stepanek, who is getting back in form after a lingering back injury.

Still, no matter which player would be in what section of the draw, there will always be two major favorites for the title. In fact, it’s hard to see any other player hold up the trophy on Sunday, other than Federer or Nadal. It’s nice to see them try though.

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23 Comments for US Open Series heating up: Welcome back Roger and Rafa

jazelle Says:

yaawwn. go back home, princess roger and rafa.Tennis is so much better without your boring ugly arrogant faces in the draw–

Judelle Says:

What a pity – If you were watching the artistry and sheer genius of Federer and Nadal you would not have time to concentrate on the insignificant facial expressions -

Sir Loz Says:

God it really is boring having the first comment from a post as an attack on Federer and Nadal. Seeing as every post on here ends up being Sampras vs Federer or Nadal vs Federer, I would like to take the opportunity to enjoy the best players in the world back again playing each other with the possibility of some great matches.
I’m really looking forward to the Montreal Masters and the US Open series. And I’m really not looking forward to any more anti-roger/rafa posts by idiots who don’t understand their significance to the game.

Jazelle, yawn yawn? Go to bed then cos your the only boring one

AKA Maverick Says:


AKA Maverick

Without king Roger and Rafa, tennis in the past few weeks was not as exciting as it is when Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are in.

Dancevic FAN! Says:


JCF Says:

I hope both Fed and Nadal make the finals. They both have the game to beat each other on any surface, though they are not equal favourites of course.

nadalfan Says:

murray lost out to fogini 6-2 6-2, so much for being fit and robredo lost to hbraty. some major upsets already.

grendel Says:

Watching Fed against the Doctor, I couldn’t help thinking: why bother with the preliminary games, why not just go straight to the tie breaks?

On this fast court, it was soon obvious that neither Federer nor Karlovich were going to be able to break serve. It was pretty tedious fare, and I never expected to say that of a Fed match.

Even the tiebreaks didn’t have much spice, since you knew Fed would pounce on the slightest weakness from Ivor.

But if there had been no games, Karlovich would have been fresh, and it really would have been anyone’s match.

Well, we can dream.

nadalfan Says:

yaa nadal destroyed safin out there bageled him…i wonder y safin cant play anymore i really used to like him but he seems to have lost his touch.

FoT Says:

I’m glad all the top players came out for Montreal (unlike the WTA). No matter what people say, you can win Washington, and the other smaller tournaments all you want – but unless the ‘big boys’ are in the tournament, you really can’t tell just how good you really are playing.

Welcome back to all the top players because I truly have missed the excitment without them in the draw. Things are back to normal now that everyone is back on the tour.

P.S. Happy Birthday to Roger 8/8 – 26 years old! I’m glad he won on his birthday.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Dancevic is making his run! He’s into the 3rd round already! GO CANADA!!!! I’m sure Federer or Nadal will take the title, but it’s great to see a Canadian talent establishing himself and managing to win consecutive ATP matches.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

FRANKIE FRANKIE FRANKIE FRANKIE!!!! The 22 Yr Old Phenom from Niagara Falls!!!! FRANK DANCEVIC!!!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Wow – Dancevic is in the quarters! YEEEEEEEEE HAW!!!!!!!!!

nadalfan Says:

ya well sry to spoil it for u budy ubt i nthe quarters tomorow he is facing nadal, is it really a contest. but at least hes made the quarters and thats fantastic cuase canada has no tennis players so hopefully this guy will soon make the top 20 or sumtin cuase im also canadian and wud like to see one of somewhere in tennis. but against nadal no chance.

grendel Says:

Sir Loz says: “every post on here ends up being Sampras versus Federer or Nadal vs Federer”. Hasn’t been the case for a while, but certainly will be again, and not just here, but on boards everywhere. The reason transcends tennis, and no doubt is irritating to some tennis purists.

But most fans of tennis, as of football, cricket, whatever, are not experts, and whilst of course they enjoy the skills on offer – or hate them if the wrong player, team etc is parading them – they are partly engaging in a form of tribalism, especially where team sports are concerned. With one on one sports like tennis, the situation is a bit different. Here, although there is scope for tribalism, fascination with heroes is the main impulse.

This is not to be despised – it may be to be regretted, that’s another matter – since it goes very deep in human nature, and is reflected in all our great literatures, mythologies, etc.

Just about all of us partake of it, if we are honest, even experts. For this to work, skill of the highest order is essential, but not so that we can calmly observe it, as if it were just an aesthetic experience (though it can be that too), but so that our emotions are released and we can engage in what is a basic form of hero worship. Some say this is infantile – if so, so be it. That’s how most of us are – in varying degrees of course, from the mild to the manic.

And right now, the human drama in tennis is extraordinary. Sampras was a great hero – who would have thought his status would have been challenged so soon? It is indeed intriguing to see whether Federer overtakes him – or whether it even makes sense to say a player from one era can surpass a player from another – but it’s not just an academic question. Emotions are heavily engaged here.

And then at exactly the same time, along comes Nadal, another player cast in the true heroic mould and, to add spice, about as different to Federer as it is possible to be.

Right now, at this moment in time, Nadal could be on the verge of dethroning the great Federer – or, the reigning hero will gather all his formidable strength and repulse the challenger. This is human drama at its most fundamental and riveting.

It’s particularly fascinating now because Federer is still at his peak. Nadal will obviously opvertake Federer in a couple of years or so – but that’s just “succession” due to age – no drama there. If Nadal can knock Federer off his pedestal now, he has legitimately slain the hero – and a new hero is born.

You can be absolutely certain that both Federer and Nadal are acutely aware of this, and this, more than anything else is what motivates them right now. Not winning the French for Federer, not winning Wimbledon for Nadal, hugely important though these are, but being recognised as the ultimate champion.

We all have opinions as to which way it’s going to go, but at the end of the day, they are worthless – none of us, however little or however much we know about tennis, has the least idea who is going to emerge triumphant.

And that, precisely, is the drama. There is none greater.

Fed to win!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Quarterfinal Prediction – Dancevic over Nadal, 2-6, 7-6, 7-6. DANCEVIC! DANCEVIC! DANCEVIC!

Dancevic FAN! Says:

nadalfan – Your predictions won’t come true due to your poor grammar and spelling. Sorry bud.

nadalfan Says:

hey u know im sure my english skills on this website affected the outcome of the toune i mean wait a second nadal won!!!! but no really i have to give credit to dancevic because he did take a set wich was more then i expected him to.

Dancevic FAN! Says:

Yah, that was more than I expected too – Proud moment for Tennis Canada, let’s see how much farther Dancevic can get in the rankings. He’s playing pretty well. I’m sure it motivated some Canadian kids to play better but the problem is there’s no money in professional tennis when you consider Daniel Nestor is our #1 guy, awesome doubles player but only makes about $600,000 a year. How about our next best? Paltry! Especially when you consider how many hundreds of million dollar contracts there are in hockey…still though, a good step in the right direction!

barry Says:

” jazelle Says: yaawwn. go back home, princess roger Tennis is so much better without your boring ugly arrogant face in the draw– ”

rotfl! ITA

NSO4079 Says:

Jazelle…you are an idiot….stop posting here

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