Here it comes….

Aug 27, 2010
Yep, it’s that time of year folks. We move from the leafy greens of Wimbledon and the achingly hot clay of France and move to the hard courts of the good ol’ US of A. The draws have been released and for the first time we get an idea of what this year will have in store for us. Of course things are constantly changing throughout an Open, but for now here are a few truths we can assure ourselves of going into the final Grand Slam:
No Delpo
For those that were holding their breath and crossing all things that could be crossed that Juan Martin del Potro will be back in time for the US Open (as I was), then there’s some unfortunate news. Del Potro, as defending champion of the US Open, will not be able to compete and defend his title in this year’s tournament. His wrist injury has kept him out of tennis almost since the beginning of the year, and after two weeks of easing his way into the game he has decided that his wrist cannot stand up to the task of a tournament. It’s such a shame after seeing a player reach a career high of fifth in the world, for him to then suffer such a debilitating injury that has pervaded throughout the whole season. One can only hope he keeps his spirits up during the time off; he will need his mental strength when he comes back in the game so he can claw his way back up to the top.
Other Absentees
Tournament organisers are having to do a quick reshuffle as the number of top players pulling out at the last moment continues. Just last week, Serena Williams announced her foot injury – sustained in a restaurant after stepping on some glass just after winning Wimbledon – will keep her out of the tournament too.  Williams has already missed 3 tournaments because of the injury, although missing this one must be the worst to accept. This is the first Grand Slam that Serena will miss since she was absent at Wimbledon in 2006. Serena just isn’t used to being an absentee. Although maybe she will be pleased to escape the comparisons to her tournament last year; whatever she may have done this year will have been continually underpinned by her behaviour at the semi-finals in the US Open last year, when her blow-up at a line judge gave Clijsters the chance for the Grand Slam win.
Kim Clijsters gave everyone a scare with an injury fright last week, but thankfully has picked herself up from that and managed to gain the fitness needed to compete this year. It would be a real tragedy if both champions from last year couldn’t defend their titles.
Even for the Tennis Fates, that would be cruel.
It is little consolation to Justine Henin, however, who is out for the rest of the season with an elbow injury. The Henin/Clijsters show down many have been waiting for has been postponed once again. Next year, maybe…
The Draw
The only thing left to say about the tournament at this stage – before it has begun and the hysteria is at full peak – is that the draws have thrown up some interesting matches in the first round. Andy Murray will play Slovakian Lukas Lacko, and comes bouncing into the tournament full of confidence after a win in Toronto; something he had desperately needed after a rather dismal year. But Lacko is no walkover, first round opponent or not. Ranked 72 in the world, he has recently beaten Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis, not bad by anyone’s standards. Stanislas Wawrinka waits for him if they get to round 3; Wawrinka has always been a bit of a problem for Murray, and it’ll be Murray’s first true test. He is planned to come up against Nadal in the semi-finals; that’ll be a treat.
After a steamy session to Shakira in the Rolland Garros karaoke booth (just singing, I promise), Novak Djokovic will now have to face his compatriot Viktor Troicki in the first round; Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will lie in wake if he advances. Rafael Nadal has an easy go of it at first, but this is his chance to get the complete set of Grand Slams, so he will have to be playing at his best to achieve that goal.
So tomorrow is Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, where players rub shoulders with the likes of the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato to raise money and entertain the kids in the crowd who have been lucky enough to get tickets. I’ll be back tomorrow to update on all of those fun-filled antics (maybe Roger can do a duet with Demi Lovato? Maybe), and then on Monday the tennis begins in earnest. The US hosts Grand Slams with the best of them, and the last event of the season is by no means the least  exciting and enjoyable.
All those players going after the American Dream in the last Grand Slam of the year. Something memorable is bound to happen.
- SophieG
Written by: SophieG

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