Novak Djokovic Is My Early U.S. Open Favorite, But Buyer Beware
by Sean Randall | August 19th, 2014, 2:27 pm
  • 97 Comments

In less than a week the tennis world will turn its eye toward New York City for the final Grand Slam of the 2014 tennis calendar. Unfortunately, with the absence of defending champion Rafael Nadal and the former winner Juan Martin Del Potro, the event, for me at least, doesn’t that same buzz. Not on the men’s side.

Plus, there just hasn’t been a lot of good, top quality tennis played this summer.

Roger Federer’s been the upfront story winning in Cincinnati and reaching the Toronto final, but with Novak Djokovic reeling, Andy Murray still in a haze, Stan Wawrinka adjusting to fame, who other than the Swiss comes into New York full on confidence?

With that, let me handicap my favorites.

1. Novak Djokovic
After one of his worst summer circuits – he won just TWO matches – I expect the newly-married Djokovic to turn things around in New York where he’s been to the final the last four years, winning in 2012 2011.

No Nadal means a clean path to potentially locking away the No. 1 ranking. And another chance at a US Open title before the baby comes in a few months. And knows where his motivation will be once the baby comes.

What will benefit him the most is the easy first week schedule when top guys like him often face some players ranked triple digits or thereabouts. So he shouldn’t have to worry about playing a Top 30 player caliber like Gilles Simon or Gael Monfils or even a Tommy Robredo right away. He’ll have a week to refine his game, make adjustments as needed, in preparation for a big week two.

And with the best-of-5 format beating Novak becomes that much tougher. So a couple of straight sets wins the first few rounds should help him “play his way” into the tournament nicely.

Of course if he starts dropping sets to Tobias Kamke then all bets are off!

2. Roger Federer
The biggest beneficiary of no Rafael Nadal is Roger Federer. Roger, a) won’t have to worry about playing Rafa, and b) is seeded second so he won’t play Djokovic until the final. That’s great news.

And even better news is aside from maybe JW Tsonga or one of his countryman (Monfils, Simon), maybe John Isner, maybe Tomas Berdych, maybe a healthy Nishikori or Djokovic, who’s going to beat Roger over 5 sets?

Raonic? Pospisil? Ferrer? Dimitrov? Murray? Cilic? I don’t see it. They are just not playing well enough right now to do it.

Looking at the rankings there’s only a handful of guys who a healthy Federer, in-form would lose to with the way he’s been playing all year.

Last season we saw a lot of issues for Federer – losing to Delbonis, Brands, etc. This year even his losses have been good ones. So someone will have to play really well to beat him.

That said, if there’s a concern it’s his consistency. As we’ve seen this summer he’s prone to dropping sets and if he ends up in a few too many long matches in NY then maybe at age 33 that (and all the tennis he’s played the last two weeks) catches up to him down the road.

It’s not grass, so the hardcourts will take their toll.

3. Andy Murray
It’s hard to make a guy who hasn’t been to a final in 13 months a third favorite but who else is there? JW Tsonga?

Murray’s looked good in moments this year. But he’s also looked really bad in others, and my guess is we’ll see more of good-bad fluctuation in New York. Back injury, Lendl, Mauresmo, I just don’t know anymore with him. Based on his results there’s nothing to lead me to believe he can win a Slam right now.

But he is a former champion and I think like Djokovic, if he can win a few easy matches early on, maybe he gets into a good rhythm for a stretch run.

Or maybe not. As a No. 8 seed that stretch run might see him face Djokovic or Federer in the quarters. Whoops.

4. JW Tsonga
We saw him take a flame thrower to the Toronto field only (expectedly) fizzle out in Cincinnati. That’s what you get with Jo: one day hot, next day cold. And that problem in exacerbated at a Slam where a guy like him has to stay redline 21 sets over 14 days. That’s a lot to ask. But if he can manage his game and keep his wits then there’s no reason he can’t make it deep into week two. Again, who’s playing well right now?

I just don’t know if he can reprise wins over Djokovic and Federer over 5-sets.

5. Stan Wawrinka
So far since Australian Stan hasn’t dealt with pressure particularly well. He won Monte Carlo but anything else of note? And now he faces a US Open semifinal defense.

For Stan I don’t see an issue with him playing a top guy (I think he can beat anyone in the field!), it’s more of him letting down early on and losing to someone he shouldn’t lose to, like a Benneteau last week.

6. Tomas Berdych
Speaking of beating players, Berdych, a former US Open semifinalist, hasn’t defeated anyone in the Top 40 since the French Open! That’s not very encouraging for a guy with his game and his history – a good hardcourt player who also once made the Wimbledon final!

But he’s also a guy who comes to life just when you write him off. So don’t sleep on the bird who might be the guy no one wants to see in their draw.

7. Milos Raonic
Milos’s been the best, most consistent player of the new wave, but this summer while he put up some good results – Wimbledon SFs, Washington title, Cincinnati SFs, he just doesn’t seem to play well against the top guys. Against Federer last week he essentially mailed it in. I saw no belief – nor did Federer I’m. And that’s a concern, though he’s still just 23.

And like Berdych, he also hasn’t beaten any big guys. Since the start of the French Open he’s beaten just ONE Top 20 player – Nishikori in four sets at Wimbledon. So those great results, take them with a grain of salt.

Milos will need another good draw to go deep and I’m not yet convinced of his -set fitness yet. But I do think one day he’ll be holding up the US Open title.

8. Grigor Dimitrov
I’ll slide in Dimitrov as my 8th favorite. After his Wimbledon semifinal he didn’t do much this summer. I think because it’s a Slam he’ll put up some better results once he gets a couple easy wins early on. And the courts and conditions should suit his game. Will he go further than girlfriend Maria Sharpova? I’m not so sure.

Other guys on my radar are:
John Isner: After a poor summer he might actually be fresh for a change in New York.
David Ferrer: Has done well in New York before and always plays well in Slams.
Ernests Gulbis: Fallen off since his big win over Federer at the French, but maybe a revival?
Marin Cilic: A 2-time US Open quarterfinalist who missed last year.
Gilles Simon: When healthy can be a tricky foe for anyone.
Fernando Verdasco: Am I stupid for thinking he might do well?
Nick Kyrgios: US Open crowd would love this kid and he’d more than reciprocate.
Gael Monfils: He’s finally playing good tennis, but can he stay focused for 5 sets?

The qualifying is already underway, and the main draws will be out on Thursday at noon. I got a feeling this is going to one crazy US Open…

The top 16 US Open seeds: 1 Novak Djokovic, Serbia; 2 Roger Federer, Switzerland; 3 Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland; 4 David Ferrer, Spain; 5 Milos Raonic, Canada; 6 Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic; 7 Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria; 8 Andy Murray, Great Britain; 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France; 10 Kei Nishikori, Japan; 11 Ernests Gulbis, Latvia; 12 Richard Gasquet, France; 13 John Isner, United States; 14 Marin Cilic, Croatia, 15 Fabio Fognini, Italy; 16 Tommy Robredo, Spain


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97 Comments for Novak Djokovic Is My Early U.S. Open Favorite, But Buyer Beware

Patson Says:

Fed is definitely a very very very close second-favorite. The 2 matches that Nole has won against him at the US open, they’ve gone to 5 sets ! And there was one where Fed was leading 2 sets to 0 ! My theory is that unlike Australia, the gusts of wind in Arthur Ashe and the slightly higher bounce are harder for Nole to handle. He needs to up his level.

Go Nole !


bbsocrates Says:

Correction: Novak won 2011 US Open. That aside, I concur that the tournament is lacking with Rafa out. I’d like to see a surprise final for a change, how about Isner vs. Raonic!


Humble Rafa Says:

The curse strikes again. LOL.


Felipe Says:

No clear cut favourites right now. Federer is playing an ultra aggresive play but the same is hard to sustain over a five set match against a quality player with good return and passing shots.If Stan can catch some fire, i think he has what it takes to go all the way, after all, he made Wimbledon quarters.
Djokovic needs to uplift his level, in Wimbledon he was taken to 5 (Cilic) and should have been taken to 5 (Dimitrov). Against a Murray, Wawrinka, Isner, Tsonga, a sub par performance can send him back home.
I think that this USOPEN is the most wide open since Roddick 2003.


Okiegal Says:

I was channel surfing and came across a network that is covering the USO qualifying matches….I don’t think this has happened before to my knowledge. I scrolled through my guide and apparently they are gonna show all days of qualifiers……but not the rest…..it will move to ESPN.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Wimbledon definitely felt more wide open than this, where we had Rafa and Murray as legit contenders, Berdych was hot, Wawrinka showing promise, and Dmitrov, Nishikori, Gulbis and Raonic seemed “ready.”

With Rafa out, Murray on walkabout, Berdych and Stan cooled, and with Fed and Novak putting a lid, for now, on the kids, it SEEMS like a two man race here.

And I can’t believe that Fed is again one of those two!


Eric Says:

Count Andy and Stan out at your peril. They are proven USO commodities. Berdych and Tsonga could make a splash too, of course. And then we can look to Ferrer to make the quarters (at least), and what of the (no longer very) “young guns” such as Raonic (who seems to be improving again at last this season) and the actual young guns like Kyrgios? We’ll see.

Yes, Novak and Roger are very clear favorites to reach the final (in Rafa’s absence). But this could be like 2008 or 2009 — who knows what will happen.

Plus, Roger hasn’t shown that much grit against Novak this year. I can’t really pick him to win this if it’s Fed-Djoko in the final.


Scott Says:

Roger hasn’t shown grit vs. Novak??? He beat him in Dubai, took him to a 3rd set tb in IW finals, and came back from a break down in the 4th to force a 5th set in Wimbledon final…I don’t quite understand your comment at all.


jane Says:

‘My theory is that unlike Australia, the gusts of wind in Arthur Ashe and the slightly higher bounce are harder for Nole to handle.”

totally agree about the wind at the us open, but higher bounce? i didn’t realize the bounce it higher than at the australian; i would’ve thought the opposite for some reason. interesting…


Brando 2.0 Says:

@Scott:

Novak won both the ones that mattered:

Wimby final and IW final.

In both of them Novak was not at his best and yet he still walked away with the titles.

And above all else:

In a best of 5 set match on a HC court at any place in the world you would have to back a 27 year old Novak to win always against a 33 year old Fed.

Each and every time.

I support neither and I have to say that the match is on Novak’s racquet and most observer’s- including Fed privately- know this.

For Fed to win against Novak in a best of 5 on any surface now- most especially on Novak’s fav surface HC- he needs 3 things vitally:

1. To be playing his absolute best.

2. Novak to be playing below par.

3. Novak to be on a real mental walkabout.

Without those 3 conditions being present really one cannot see him beating Novak now in a best of 5 on HC at all: and 2 of the above 3 causes are in Novak’s control, not Fed’s!

And when you consider Novak has beat Fed from 0-2 down, MP’s down twice then really you just cannot help but think that matchup completely depends on Novak.

And it’s only right that it should:

He’s a 27 year old prime age player. He should always beat a 33 year old player at this point in his career.

Nature’s law kicking in and dictating the matchup more than Tennis skills, since if it was about skill then this year’s Wimby title would have had a different name engraved on it!


Eric Says:

Yes, he won Dubai while Novak played like crap, took him to a 3rd set TB (which he lost) after winning the first set at IW, and, oh, yeah, gave up halfway through the fifth set at Wimbledon. Not to mention when Roger steamrolled Novak at Monte Carlo he went on to lie down in the final against Wawrinka. And he lost his third set ever against Ferrer on Sunday. Sorry, but I am not buying Roger’s mental toughness in important matches or finals anymore– although I will absolutely pick him to get there, and hopefully Djokovic will give him opportunities to snag the match.


Gee Says:

Well, we agree that fed & Novak aren’t the most emotionally strong in tennis history. Novak can’t play when he isn’t #2. He likes to play the victim to nadal. It’s really tiresome & pathetic, really.

Injured novak certainly helped fed’s Monte Carlo “steamroll”.
Lol at the first post about Novak being down vs. fed at the us open in 2011. Novak was freaking injured for a month.
Why don’t the fed fans mention how old fed was since 2007?
Of course, fed’s age disappears when Novak & nadal are not interested in winning.

It’s not like he had to leave for a 7 month vacation and suddenly got fresher legs to beat fed & nadal.


lylenubbins Says:

They say tennis is a year round season, which it technically is, but in terms of intensity it’s actually Aussie-Wimbledon. After that, it’s this weird Summer tour, and this weird indoor tour in the Fall, with the US Open in the middle as the only event any of the top players really care about during the last 5.8 months of the year. I love it all but I go to Cincy every year and by that point in the season it’s anybody’s guess which top players will actually show up and finish without injury.


van orten Says:

U nole Fans are completly delusional …about his match up vs fed…but keep believing the match up is on noles racquet knowing the luck he had over and over again vs fed..


jane Says:

van orten, which nole fans? i think there are only a few of us here: wog boy, myself, and patson. also courbon and mat4 sometimes. i don’t think most of us feel what you just wrote. most of us usually say it’s 50/50 when nole and fed play. and their usually tight matches shows that.


van orten Says:

Well not nole fans fans..but fed haters..sorry for the misinterpretation..I know most nole fans and fed fans like the two players..I like nole a lot . So just wanted to make clear that the match up is a toss up


Humble Rafa Says:

As the King rests, lesser men fight it out.


skeezer Says:

“As the King rests, lesser men fight it out.”
And you call yourself Humble? LMAO.
You need a new gig.


jane Says:

clear, van orten. :)


Humble Rafa Says:

And you call yourself Humble? LMAO.

You have never met a Humble King? Now, you have.


Wog boy Says:

jane, you are not wrong, very few of us are on TX, but we can make big noise when we are switched on, same as our man, he can do miracles when he is switched on….though, can’t walk on the water…yet.
Speaking of mental part of Nole’s game, I can see that some posters are trying to say ,again, that Nole isn’t mentaly tough, or at least not as tough as the other two, with Nole it is about his mind, sometimes he is just not there.
I remember watching Wimbledon final, fourth set, it was deja vu but i couldn’t remember where and when and then it clicked, 2011 AO same two players. Federer was up 5:2 in the second set and lost it 7:5, he couldn’t get over it and lost third easily. Can I remaind people who says that Nole is not mentaly tough how he regrouped in the fifth set and won Wimbledon, and how many wins he had coming from behind to beat two greatest players that walked (still walking), under the tennis sky.
It is his mind and which Nole turns up for the match and it will be his mind and which Nole turns up for the US open. Get ready for another Nolecoaster people (Nole fans are always ready):)


Wog boy Says:

Is it only me, and my English that I can’t understand what Gee is trying to say?


lylenubbins Says:

Nole could be complacent because he won Wimbledon. Roger wants it! I pick Roger.


Okiegal Says:

@Wog boy 11:52

I can’t either…….Gee, you got some splainin’ to do!!


Wog boy Says:

Okiegal, thanks, at least I know I am not alone.


skeezer Says:

The ones that say Nole is not mentally tough have no idea what they are talkng about. One year; 2011. He was mentally better than most everyone, and mostly Rafel Nadal, who some tout as the toughest mentally in this era.


Gordon Says:

There is a fine but significant difference between someone who truly loves what he does and someone who loves what being good at something brings him.

This US Open may give us a hint as to which of the above Mr. Djokovic belongs.


Michael Says:

With the absence of Rafa and Del Potro, two former Champions, this edition of US Open has lost its sheen, but the show must go on and would wait for none. It is all right to philosophically say that nobody is indispensable in any sphere. But I just dread to imagine Tennis without Roger, Rafa and Novak. They are definitely the pull for this Sport and are its brand Ambassadors. Despite the claim of a tough era, there isn’t promising players around who have the grit to make it big. Atleast, there isn’t anybody today who is so inspiring that we can say he is a potential future Champion. All such prophesies in the past about some of the players like Tomic, Gulbis etc., have failed to take off. Now there is claim for Dmitrov and Raonic to make it to the big stage, but their performances so far do not seem to be consistent and they certainly lack the variety to be a top performer. Ofcourse they can make those occasional upsets, but that doesn’t make you a Champion stuff unless you are consistent. It can only earn you the epithet of a Giant killer. In that respect, there is a big vacuum at the top and I do not know how Tennis is going to cope up once the creamy layer wears off. Coming to the US Open, ofcourse Roger and Novak are the joint favourites. But, nothing can be taken for granted and there might be big upsets in the making. We can come to any kind of prophesies only after seeing the draw and how that pans out.


Michael Says:

To be a Champion, you have to be an habitual winner and not an occasional one. Just look at Tsonga who won Montreal but is immediately eliminated in the first round at Cincinnati. On the other hand, take a look at Roger who makes the finals at Montreal and follows up with a victory at Cincinnati. That is the real Champion stuff.


Michael Says:

It is just my thought. In these altercations frequently about who is the greater player, is it necessary that we should belittle one to boost another ? Frequently I find some of the forum members use some of the tough adjectives and condescending rival achievements to shore up their argument. Don’t all these Champions like Roger, Rafa and Novak deserve much more respect from us ? We are poignantly not aware of the kind of hard work, trials and tribulations that they have done to make it to the top. Life is not so easy and there can be no gain without pain. Ofcourse, we can have lively debates because that is what this forum is all about. But we can have that in a dignified and graceful manner and trying our best not to hurt the sentiments of another.


Michael Says:

To say that Novak is not mentally tough is like saying that the species of Tiger is not a carnivore.


Margot Says:

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/aug/19/andy-murray-us-open

Worth Andy fans reading this. Gr8 interview. Talks about Maresmo and Lendl and his back op.
Supports MMT’s analysis too. Says he wants to get back to using more variety on court, which apparently she’s in favour of but Ivan wasn’t, but it’s no use on court thinking about which shot he could/should play! Lol.
He loves the tournament and New York, so hope he can re-capture the magic.
Go Andy!


Okiegal Says:

Who in the world started a discussion implying that Novak wasn’t mentally tough?……..hog wash! That’s all I’ve got to say about that…..Well on second thought I will add something else. Novak has made some great comebacks….now has he faltered a time or two, probably, but my gosh, he isn’t gonna play perfect every time……give me a break and him too. He’s one amazing athlete. He’s not my fav but I highly respect his prowess on the tennis court. He is a tough one to beat. Having a few ups and downs lately, but he will get together. He has a lot on his plate now and probably lots of extra worries. New bride and baby on the way…..that will bring you back down to earth in a hurry. He is a great guy and I think fatherhood will suit him to a “t”. I wish him the best for the USO.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…….Yes ma’am……go Andy…..get it together and win this thing!! You know Andy can be so freakin amazing at times. I think he beats himself up on court too much when he’s not playing his best. I was watching him on you tube tonight and he is capable of beating anyone. I didn’t realize his record against Fed was so good. He can do it. I want him to do good so I can get involved in the USO since my guy is out!! Vamos Andy!!


Wog boy Says:

Nole is getting ready for USO…ice bath:)

http://youtu.be/RV1JFT1rBAE


Margot Says:

@OK
Hey gal! Welcome aboard the Murray Roller Coaster! Hold on tight now, gonna be a bumpy ride!
In all honesty think you might need a second favourite to cheer for….just in case ;)


jane Says:

wog boy, i didn’t really understand gee’s point either.

gordon, nole loves tennis. the us open is not needed to determine that, trust me. :) i’ve followed nole closely for 7 years now, reading his words, watching his matches & interviews, following his doings off court as well. as with any player, maybe personal things sometimes overshadow on court happiness or focus; maybe tough losses sometimes take the shine off, but nole loves tennis. he is gracious in defeat and congratulates his opponents because he is happy to compete. it’s not only about winning for him. he’s said it many times. he loves being part of it all.


Josh Says:

I’m really excited about the US Open this year. I feel that Novak is the favorite to go all the way. I would really love a Federer/Novak final.

I’m a serve and volley fan, so I enjoy watching Federer come to the net more. I think that the biggest hurdle for Federer is keeping up his stamina over 5 sets. It’s hard to do against Novak, who’s of course younger, quicker and can make unbelievable shots.

I hope I’m not the only person who would also like to see Nick K. make some waves. It seems about time for one of the “next generation” guys to go far into the tournament. Would make a great story!


Humble Rafa Says:

In life, you have to take what life gives you. Right now, life has given me a break. A break that will rejuvenate me. Lesser mortals may be excited about my temporary absence. But I will let them know that with humility, I will Humble them.

Current state: Philospher


Hippy Chic Says:

Margot/Okiegal im also fully behind Andy,and would love him to get back into the winners circle,hes always been my second favorite,nobodys backing him or giving him much of a chance,but hes done it before so why cant he do it again,lets go Andy,i assume its safe on this forum to actually have second favorites that is?


SG1 Says:

HR…to put a slight twist on an old saying…”Those who can do, those who can’t become armchair philosophers.” I’m pretty sure Rafa isn’t a philosopher.

As for you, ???????????


SG1 Says:

Interesting that Sean outs Raonic ahead of Dimitrov (though admittedly not by much). I understand why. Milos looks good in the early rounds and blows people away with the big serve until he gets to the quarters and semis when the cannon balls start coming back too often.

Dimitrov could almost as easily make the semis as be bounced in the 2nd or 3rd round. It just seems that Dimitrov’s movement (which isn’t great compared to Novak, Murray and Federer)should give him a big advantage compared to Raonic.


SG1 Says:

Sean “puts” Raonic ahead of Dimitrov…LOL. Not sure Raonic would appreciate Sean “outing” him.


Brando 2.0 Says:

@Humble Rafa:

LMFAO re 11.35 post!

Preach that Humble talk!


RZ Says:

I’d put the men’s US Open contenders into 5 groups:

1) The “Dependables”: members of the Big 4 who are playing. Fed, Djoker, and Murray know how to win grand slam titles and at least one of them is always in a major final.
2) The “Unpredictables” (could also be called the Wild Cards: These would be Wawrinka and Tsonga, who have proven that they can win just about any tournament they enter, and also lose in the early rounds of any tournament.
3) The “Also Rans”: This would be Ferrer and Berdych – often reliable to get to the later rounds of big tournaments (more true of Ferrer than Berdych) but likely to stumble at the last roadblock.
4) The Up-and-Comers: Dmitrov, Raonic, and Nishikori, who have come a long way this year showing off their talent.
5) The “Live Up To Their Seedings and May Pull Off an Upset but Won’t Win” crowd: Cilic, Isner, Robredo, Monfils, Lopez.

I would expect the winner would come from my of the first two groups (which really is no different than Sean’s top 5)


Ben Pronin Says:

Food for thought:

A few years ago, Murray made some comments about how, even though everyone says the game is very physical with everyone being primarily baseliners, it was actually the serve and volleyers who experienced shortened careers. Patrick Rafter is a notable example. Whereas Agassi, who had plenty of injuries, played for a long time. Including outlasting Sampras. Connors outlasted McEnroe, especially when factoring in his head start. And even Edberg and Becker didn’t experience careers as long/successful as Lendl.

So even though everyone wants Federer to come into net more, and theoretically extend his career, couldn’t this be doing the opposite?


Polo Says:

You have to be very quick on your feet to be an effective serve and volley player. Age does not smile very kindly on that, hence, their shorter careers.


skeezer Says:

Ben,
S&V, if thats the way you’ve played your entire career, then yes, its more physical and demanding. S&V requires a some different set of requirements, especially like doing sprints everytime you serve. You’ll notice ( Agassi was great at this ) if you serve and stay back, you can anticipate side to side coverage and not have to move as much at times. With S&V, you are serving and exploding in each and everytime. S&V requires more knee bend, variety of physicals( overhead, split step, etc ).


RZ Says:

Ben, I think the serve-and-volleyers that you mention had shorter careers because once they slowed down a little, they couldn’t get into position as quickly as they would have liked and would get passed. Also, those guys served-and-volleyed on probably 90% or more of their serve games, and didn’t spend time hugging the baseline. As of last week, Fed still looked pretty fast on the court and has a versatile enough game to stay back if going to the net isn’t working.


skeezer Says:

I have never thought Fed was a S&V player per se, but more all around. I think this has helped his longetivity. He probably now needs to come in more as stamina as you get older becomes a factor. He is not winning those long baseline battles like he used too. So the Fed 2.0 is working. As long as he keeps his movement up to snuff with the younger guys, he is going to contend at the very top.


Polo Says:

I checked out on Snopes the story about Novak not being mentally tough. It has been proven to be a hoax.


Okiegal Says:

@Polo

Ben doesn’t get it! Lol


Polo Says:

@okiegal, that made me LOL also. Ben has not been following the thread.


Okiegal Says:

@Polo………Tee hee!! ^^^^^^


the_mind_reels Says:

As an American, I’m certainly not out to disparage John Isner, but why is he continually “on the radar” at non-clay majors? He has extremely average GS results for someone who’s consistently in the top 20: with the exception of one QF showing in New York in 2011, he’s a second/third round player at the majors.

Yes, he tends to play well during the American hard court summer, but he also plays small tournaments and generally ends up beating guys who are ranked somewhere below 30 in the world…which he should as a top 20 player.

At 29 and for someone who’s never figured out a way to shorten his matches, while I really like the guy as a person, he’s just not cut out for the second week at majors. Sort of baffling why people always put him in the conversation. He is capable of shaking up draws, but that’s about it.


metan Says:

I guess if Nole will be in the final, that will be his trophy.


the_mind_reels Says:

The draw is shaping up well for Federer. Djokovic has Wawrinka, Murray, Tsonga, and Raonic all in the top half, while Federer drew Ferrer, Berdych, and Dimitrov.


FedExpress Says:

Even as a die hard fed fan i have to admit that feds draw is quite laughable. I expext him to be in the final tbh.

on the otherh hand, noles draw is so much loaded that it could expolde. Gosh. Murray in quarters, maybe tsonga, 3rd round isner, wawrinka, raonic


the DA Says:

Murrays draw – hahahahaha

Federer’s draw – hahahahaha

*only one laugh is sarcastic*


skeezer Says:

Its about time Fed had a nice draw. That last couple of years overall he’s had some tough draws. Now I hope that doesn’t jinx him and he pulls a Rafa early on.


Josh Says:

Looks like a nice draw on paper for Fed. Novak and Andy look like they have tougher draws, but we would all do well to remember how these draws can open up quite significantly. Not many people are entering this tournament in their best form and full of confidence.


Margot Says:

@ the DA
So Andy gets: Nole, Tsonga, Stan, Raonic et al…..and Fed gets…… Ferrer……ho hum….


elina Says:

Stanimal (in the Nole/Muzza half) has young guns Vesely, Kyrgios, Popsicle, Nishikori and Raonic plus last year’s Roger-Slayer T-Rob.

Nole has Muzza, Kohlschreiber, GGL, Isner, Tsonga, Bennetteau and Verdasco.

Roger doesn’t really have a credible threat in his quarter, LaMonf and BabyFed being the biggest threats. (That is the biggest joke quarter of all time for Roger!!!)

Berdy threats: Cilic, Gulbis (but Berdy is in Fed’s half so good to keep that half soft overall).

Roger to play on Day 1 evening match anyone?

Basically, Roger’s path to the final is to show up!


Giles Says:

Absolutely ridiculous draw for fed. He also had a cupcake draw in Wimbledon. Oh well! How else can he reach the final. Needs some help from the powers that be. I wonder if he’s been bribing them with Lindor.


Okiegal Says:

@Margot…….yeah……ho hum…..


Giles Says:

Looks like #18 coming’ up!!


Ben Pronin Says:

Looking at names is fun sometimes, but we gotta remember the form these guys are in.

First, let me say Berdych has drawn the worst possible first round opponent in Hewitt. Last year Hewitt knocked off Del Potro in the second round in a fantastic 5 set match. Hewitt doesn’t have the stamina to go deep nowadays but considering Berdych’s poor form and Hewitt’s never-ending fight, I expect the older veteran to get through in a cracker.

I think we see Cilic and Ferrer in the 4th round and the winner probably makes the semis. Cilic could definitely trouble Federer but Ferrer, not so much. Monfils is the only guy who could keep up with Federer in that quarter. Everyone else is either playing bad or is normally bad.

So yeah, Federer’s probably making the final with little energy wasted.

As for the top half, well when it’s that loaded, you know it’s gonna blow up. Raonic and Wawrinka could end up playing each other in an epic or they can both lose early. Tsonga could easily flame out early again or rampage his way to the title. But more realistically, I doubt he beats Murray again. He’s only beaten him twice and Murray really should’ve beaten him in Toronto. Facing Isner in the third round is pretty unlucky for Djokovic, but I doubt he loses in a best of 5. We probably will see a Murray-Djokovic match and there’s nothing Murray can do to be the favorite for that match. So Djokovic has a pretty rough path overall but I think he makes it.

But we’ll see, no?


the DA Says:

@skeezer – Name the last ‘tough’ draw he had. Just for fun. My memory is playing tricks on me.

@Margpt – *sigh* I know. But I want to think positive. Remember Wimbledon 2012? Davydenko, Karlovic, Baghdatis, Cilic, Ferrer, Tsonga, Federer. I was sure he was going to be knocked out early. Also Wimbledon 2013 was horrendous at first but it opened up. Maybe it will make him rise to the challenge? We know he is perfectly capable of beating all those players on a HC. I’m just going to drink, a lot.


Ben Pronin Says:

I wish I could revise my last comment. I don’t think Djokovic will make it. I think he can manage, but I don’t see any guarantees for him. Not like Federer who really needs to screw up big time to fall early.


the DA Says:

“We probably will see a Murray-Djokovic match and there’s nothing Murray can do to be the favorite for that match.”

I *love* statements like these. I never want Andy to be the favorite. He wasn’t favorite in the Olympic SF, the USO final and Wimbledon final. Long may it stay that way ;D


jane Says:

fedexpress, you said it, not me! but i totally agree.


Brando Says:

LMFAO: Roger Federer has just been served the most easiest path to a GS final I have EVER. Not his fault or his fans and not hating on the guy (he’s kinda grown on me since time has passed) and not should his fans feel offended, but the truth is the truth: that is a joke, absolute gimme draw. He’s in the final and like Wimbledon he really should only drop 2 sets maximum prior to then. For me: this draw has made him co-fav with Novak atleast for the title.


Colin Says:

@ Ben Pronin

“We probably will see a Murray-Djokovic match and there’s nothing Murray can do to be the favorite for that match.”

Really? Nothing? Nole’s form remains somewhat iffy (that’s perfectly possible). He has a tough match in the round before (also possible). Andy starts well and wins his early matches impressively (less likely, but again, possible). Yet in your book Andy wouldn’t start favourite, despite the fact he’s beaten Nole twice in slams.


jane Says:

best comment award:

” I’m just going to drink, a lot.”

ha ha! me too. :)


skeezer Says:

Would love to see a birds!t Cilic matchup here. Boom and Boom.


Brando Says:

Novak Djokovic: Easy street till week 2 but then it’s as rough as it can be potentially: R16- Isner, QF- Murray, SF- Wawrinka, F- well rested Federer. I admit: that’s as close as tough as you could pick it for him. Still back him as co-fav though.


Brando Says:

Andy Murray: who cares? We knew he was in for a tough draw and he got it. Muzza just needs to take it match at a time. If he goes down fighting, going out for the win: ill be a happy supporter of his.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

I have to agree with the earlier comment. There are 20-30 more frightening GS opponents than Isner. Should not be mentioned here as a significant threat to anyone.


Perfect fan Says:

This year US open draw is indeed laughable….top half heavily loaded, bottom half not so much.

This USO resembles a lady with huge bosom but a tiny bottom…. ;))


Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, you said the same thing about Djokovic’s draw at the Australian Open.

Colin, I chose my words carefully. There’s nothing Murray can do to be the favorite. That doesn’t mean Djokovic can’t do something to boost Murray’s chances. Murray stormed through his first 4 matches at Wimbledon and then played a horrendous match against Dimitrov. So forgive me for not being a believer.

DA, I think Murray was the favorite for the Olympic SF. But yeah the other 2 Djokovic really let slip.


Hippy Chic Says:

Funny that when Novak loses it because he let it slip,or he played crap etc,but not because Andy actually played better?


Brando Says:

@Perfect fan: ROFLMFAO perfect analogy for this draw. It’s a joke in some way.


Brando Says:

This kinda draw is the normal result when a big time player gets injured (Rafa, Delpo) or suffers from bad form (Muzza). The game needs its best and finest fit and form since the alternative really sees lambs being put infront of lions to be slaughtered in the biggest events. Everyone should hope the best players-regardless of whom you root for- are able to participate since really when they are not there: our biggest and most prestigious events suffer when such farcical draws are released.


skeezer Says:

I don’t see this event “suffering”, lol.
Its still is a Slam and its still going to be exciting. Its arguably the 2nd most prestigious Slam of the year.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t really see the need to rehash old arguments but of course Murray played better considering he won. But letting numerous break leads slip in not one but two different sets is letting things slip.


Margot Says:

@the DA
I’ll drink to that…;)


Brando Says:

Re Muzza v Novak: the grass wins for Andy are not even a debate. At his best he’s just plain better than Novak on grass. Period. So him beating Nole is straights is not a big deal since a fit and firing Murray- I think- is the Grass number 1 and the real heir to Fed’s grass throne. He’s just better than the rest and I see him proving it once he’s done. The USO final 2012 however: Novak let Andy off the hook. I was rooting for Andy, loved his win but gotta say what I felt honestly at the time: Novak really should have sealed the deal in that one.


Okiegal Says:

@Skeezer

The event may not be suffering…….but Okiegal certainly is…..big time….sigh……I will get through it, always do. I’ll just get behind another guy and Andy is that guy!! C’mon Andrew!! Play like we know you are capable of!!


the DA Says:

“Muzza v Novak: the grass wins for Andy are not even a debate.”

2 matches on grass, 0 sets won. Nuff said.

@skeezer- one tough draw in 8 months? The poor guy ;)


courbon Says:

I just came from Pyrenees Mountains,with no access to internet and I get a supprise!
1;Nadal is not playing-that is a bummer for him and his fans. I guess , young tennis millioner will use this time to enjoy summer but somebody better put Giles on suicide watch!
2; US Open draw- I did not have a time to read all the comments but I guess will be something like mine-Fed is in the final!Well,I always thought that easy draws for Novak are not good, so I do not mind him having a tough draw.
I’m so tired from high altitude, off to bed…


Wog boy Says:

Andy might be better player on grass but Nole has two Wimbledon titles and not Andy, that is what matters.
I am not going to say that Andy didn’t have to play top 20 (methinks) player until final, I can’t remember who Nole had to play to reach the final and play Andy, can you?


Ben Pronin Says:

LOL Brando. “So him beating Nole is straights is not a big deal”.

This couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t even disagree that Murray is a naturally better grass court player. He absolutely is. At his best, he’s quite a sight. But that doesn’t mean that Djokovic shouldn’t get a set or even 2. In a best of 3, losing 5-7 5-7 isn’t a big deal. But losing in straights in best of 5? When’s the last time Djokovic lost in straights at a slam? 2010. It was a huge deal that he lost in 3 like that. No matter how much better on grass Murray is, Djokovic had break leads in the second and third sets and he should’ve taken at least one of them.

And like Wog boy said, Djokovic has 2 Wimbledon’s to Murray’s 1. And I think it’s safe to assume the preferable credentials in this situation.


Hippy Chic Says:

Agree with Wogboy and Ben,Murray is a better GC player than Novak,as his game suits grass more than Novaks,but when push comes to shove Novak still has better numbers,which is after all the only thing that matters,i wouldnt bet against Murray having better numbers eventually,but thats for the future….


jamie Says:

Sean jinxing Nole.

Nole is not winning.


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Top story: ATP London Race (20 Oct 14): Murray Moves Ahead; Federer Looks To Close No. 1 Gap In Basel
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Rankings
ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Marin Cilic8 Ana Ivanovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Andy Murray10 Angelique Kerber
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