Onwards and Upwards

Jul 10, 2009

Ok, maybe not upwards. The Wimbledon final was a spectacular final (although compared to 2008’s it wasn’t quite that spectacular), so the US Open has a tough act to follow. Still, it is the following act, and Wimbledon has left us with some questions to ponder over in this break before the US Open.

First: Can Andy Roddick maintain his form?

No-one expected Andy Roddick to be in the final of Wimbledon 2009, never mind be in the final and not be trumped by Roger Federer in straight sets.  He gave World No.  2 a run for his money, and for a while it was a little nervy for the usually in-control Swiss star.

This was at a tournament he hasn’t excelled in for a number of years, in fact last year he pitched out in the third round – one of his earliest points for a while. So can Roddick take what he has gained over the past year – particularly at Wimbledon and with his new coach – and use it to win the only Grand Slam he has won before?

But Roddick has the problem of a hip injury, apparently acquired during the aforementioned final against Federer. It has even kept him from the quarter-final Davis Cup match with Croatia, which is worrying news. Let’s hope  his fitness is up to par with what he demonstrated at Wimbledon or every other weapon in his arson may be for nothing….

In my own opinion, I think it could be very likely Roddick will take the US Open again. On the hard courts at Flushing Meadows, in an environment he has controlled before, he could surely do well enough to gain his second Grand Slam. Even if Nadal comes into the game again, it is doubtful his knees would hold him up against an on-form Roddick after not playing for a number of months, and Roddick has proven he has the talent to potentially overthrow Federer.

This looks like his best chance, so long as the hip injury doesn’t get in his way.

 

Second: Can Andy Murray win his first  Grand Slam in 2009?

The ludicrous Murray Mania has finally settled in the UK, although anyone still following the Scot will know he still has a large fan base who believe he can continue onto greater things.

The farthest that Murray has got in a Grand Slam tournament is a final at the US Open. With his solid performance at Wimbledon and the pressure relieved from not playing on British soil, this could be Murray’s greatest hour. It does, however, depend who he comes up against if he reaches a final. Despite the fact he has beaten Federer on a number of occasions, he hasn’t ever beaten him in a Grand Slam Final. And that – particularly when playing against Federer – is an entirely different ball game.

Still, the same problem could occur in a semi or quarter final match. An on-form Roddick has been shown as a worthy competitor for the up-and-coming Scot.

I remain dubious on the issue, and it’s not entirely because of my opinions on Murray himself. It’s just that maybe we will have to wait until next year for Murray to finally fulfil his goal of getting a Grand Slam. He’s so close, within touching distance, but maybe there’s just that couple of extra inches to go. Whether it’s in maturity, fitness, mentality or skill, there may be just one more step he has to take before he can reach that level.

 But as mentioned previously, it does depend on his opponents and how this newly matured Andy can handle them.

 

Third: Is Nadal coming back into the game?

There’s been no word so far as to whether he is coming back for the US Open, or even for some tournaments before that. Maybe silence is a good thing and he will spring it on us when he is ready. Maybe the silence is a deafening clue that Nadal isn’t ready to come back to the game yet.

I wouldn’t want to be the physiotherapist or coach who had to tell Rafael Nadal he couldn’t play at the US Open; this is especially since he went out early in the French and had to skip Wimbledon altogether. The combination must have been hard for the Majorcan, who couldn’t return to defend his title after last year.

On the one hand, he has had complete rest for a month or so to help the recovery process, and there has been no news of his knees degrading or becoming even more of an issue.

But on the other, the last surface which is advisable to come on after damaged knees is the hard courts at Flushing Meadows.

So we will have to wait and see on that one, but I for one have my fingers crossed. Grand Slams just don’t feel right without him, and too long off the circuit smacks of a career starting to move to the back burner…

 

There a multitude of other questions for the US Open that may have risen from Wimbledon, these just being my top three. Everybody will have different ones, depending on where their interests lie. Even more will be added to that list as all the tournaments in between start to really get underway, and there most definitely isn’t enough time to list them all here.  

We’ll just have to wait and see if, when and how our questions are going to be answered…

 

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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