It’s US Open Time, Who Really Wants it?

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To be honest, it’s really up for anyone…well almost!

At the start of 2012 if you were to name the top 4 men likely to be the last man standing by holding the US Open Trophy who would it be? Well… lemme answer for you cause it’s my blog to write tonight. Sure you would have said Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Rafael Nadal. Nadal, my personal favorite from Spain is out with an injury so that leaves three on the list of likely losers or not.

Andy Murray has never won a grand slam even though he just won a gold medal on his home grassy turf, that’s the point it is grass not hard court like New York’s U.S. Open surface and it was not a grand slam title. Murray is a rising star at age 25 but bless his little Scottish heart but he does not have a title yet and I don’t see him gaining his first this year at the U.S. open.

Roger Federer in my humble opinion the greatest men’s tennis player there ever was is just that guy who could emerge victorious in a Swiss sneaky show of old man strength. The Swiss star Federer did just remarkably win his 17th Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, prior to that Federer had not won a grand slam title for two and a half years. Being close in age to Federer and playing in tennis tournaments myself there are times when guys half your age should beat you but instead wisdom and experience prevail or you simply rise to the occasion cause your feelin’ it and oblivious to age at the moment! Federer may really be a seasoned veteran but look at his recent stamina match. It was just three weeks ago Federer guts out the longest Olympic match in history by defeating Juan Martin del Potro. Federer owns five straight US Open titles between 2004 and 2008 but this is almost a half a decade later.

Oh and there’s this young guy who was just a boy a few years ago named Novak Djokovic, nicknamed “Djoker”, a portmanteau of his surname and the word joker.Djokovic, the Reigning US Open Champion has not yet forced Roger Federer to abdicate his throne as the king of the hard court tennis surface.

Of Djokovic’s most likely competitors in the finals, either Andy Murray or Roger Federer, Djokovic has had success against the two. He defeated Federer in five-set matches at each of the past two US Opens, and he took care of Andy Murray at both the Sony Ericsson Open and the Aussie Open earlier this year—all hard courts.

I know the emotion factor is not always brought up especially when were referring to athletes it’s the skill and drive and sheer talent that is usually measured but let’s look at the emotional and mental aspect this one last grand slam has on the top tennis players. I find in my athletics whether it be tennis or hockey there are times you get bruised but unbroken mentally/emotionally even in life, recently for me I might add. But as an athlete you find a way to overcome it.

Practically all tennis players are familiar with the difficulty of the mental side of tennis. Often this is what makes the difference in more matches than we would ever like to admit.

Novak Djokovic earlier in 2012 said mental toughness at key moments sets tennis’s “Big Four” apart from the others. “I think it’s just the experience that you get playing on the tour that you can use in the certain moments when you feel you are under pressure.”

Just like only a week ago at the Cincinnati Masters The crowd, in Federer’s favor at the outset, turned their attention to Djokovic, hoping to propel him into competitive form. And when Djokovic held serve to open the second set, the crowd roared in relief, causing Djokovic to break into a toothy grin as he walked to his chair for the changeover.

The crowd and key moments in the match may help determine the outcome in this epic and pivotal moment for the ages at the U.S. Open, after that said I think Novak Djokovic repeats as winner this year.

On the women’s side there are three that stand out to me for being named champion this year and reigning champ Samantha Stosur is not one of them.

The 2006 U.S, open champion Maria Sharapova shaking off some rustiness at this year’s grand slam comes to mind as a possibility. Sharapova, this year’s French Open champion and a silver medalist at the Olympics, reached the US Open second round on Monday with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Hungary’s Melinda Czink, showing no signs of stomach problems that sidelined her since the Olympics. Victoria Azarenka fairly fresh off her first grand slam title at the Australian Open is 23 and has crazy good tennis skills. Aside from Victoria Azarenka Withdrawing from Dubai with an Ankle Injury she seems to be healthy and deadly to opponents with her rockus two-handed backhand.

Some may say I’m going out on a limb with this prediction but number 6 ranked Angelique Kerber is my choice for U.S. Open champion this time! The fellow German Kerber won first WTA title at Paris’ Open GDF SUEZ in February and has shown remarkably drastic signs she’s heading to the top so fast it is almost unfathomable.

If Angelique Kerber can get past Venus Williams and her shoulder doesn’t flare up again, the hard-hitting lefty, who does everything else right-handed, may have a reasonable chance to roll into the quarterfinals and take a stand to prove she is worthy of then winning her first U.S. Open championship.

Written by – Bryan Kreutz

Gold Medal Greatness? Wimbeldon winner? Which is greater?

Great Britain’s Andy Murray avenged his Wimbledon final defeat by Roger Federer in the finest possible way at the all england club this last weekend in the Olympic games of 2012.
Could it have been written better than a movie script or even the 2004 Wimbledon film than this way to have such high expectations of Andy Murray succeed in front of his home country?

Remember it was just 4 weeks ago in the Wimbeldon final Murray fell short of a first title after Roger Federer claimed his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title.
Murray, the 25-year-old Dunblane, Scotland native mastered the second set, winning each of the first five games before Federer finally held. Federer earned a break point in the next game, but the set eventually belonged to Murray.

The 30-year old Federer looked much fresher than the younger Murray who may have had the edge in home court and youth, but Federer is undeniably one of if not the greatest tennis player of all time.

Roger Federer of Switzerland, who was coming off his marathon four-hour, 26-minute semifinal triumph over Juan Martin del Potro on Friday, the longest match in Olympic tennis history.

“The biggest win of my life,” said Murray immediately after winning gold with a shocking 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 win over Federer, the world’s No. 1 player.

He was asked if this gold medal meant more than winning Wimbledon would have.

“I got asked that question a lot before,” he said, in his slow, dry, quiet brogue. “I got asked it a lot this week. I would love to win Wimbledon, for sure. But this felt good. And I wouldn’t change this for anything right now, that’s for sure.” As you can see, Olympic champion Andy Murray captures buoyant mood of his nation.

While Roger Federer wins and loses on the same court only a month apart with practically the same career defining meaning of each match…should he win both. A gold medal is one of the few accomplishments missing from Federer’s overflowing resume.

So set aside the tennis prize money for a moment and the gold medal worth also. What is it about the tradition, its prestige, its history, the honor and greatness to hold that title as grand slam champion of Wimbeldon? Versus…being an Olympic champion, meaning the best tennis player in all the countries of the world as a gold medal winner. Which I ask is a better achievement for Andy Murray, or any player who has these titles held proudly with his or her name at the top?

Written by – Bryan Kreutz