We continue our build up to the final Grand Slam of the year filled with what could be described as unending casualty list. Not having six top ranked players at Flushing Meadows is such a big blow.The men’s tour is currently plagued with injuries to 4 high-profile players while the women’s tour will be missing the six time US Open champion Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka unrelated to injuries. A look at each player, their strengths and how they will be missed.
Former world number one and 23 Grand Slam winner Williams has been off the court after news was mistakenly leaked to the public about her pregnancy. The six time US Opeppn champion has since been out of the tour after her win at the Australian Open in January.
The American will be missed for her exceptional comebacks particularly on Grand Slam level. Williams is considered to have one of the most powerful shots in the women’s game and her double-handed backhand is brilliant. The home support would have been crucial to her quest for a 24th Grand Slam title.
Vika like she is called, may not been a two time finalist. The only way she could compete would be to leave her eight-month old son Leo in California, something she is not ready to do. Azarenka will be missed for her controlled aggression which she uses to hit relentless groundstrokes and to move her opponent around the court in order to hit low risk winners.Vika alongside Williams would have given us that sort of rivalry if the draws had paired them together.
The men are not left out on this one. Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori , Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic all missing out of the tournament.
Missing a top player at a Grand Slam is disappointing but worse when it’s he defending champion.Wawrinka withdrew from two warm up events, Rogers Cup in Montreal and the Cincinnati Masters with a knee injury.The Swiss will definitely not defend his US Open title and will miss the rest of the season after deciding to undergo surgery on his left knee.Wawrinka won his third grand slam title in New York last year with victory over Novak Djokovic. Neither will be at Flushing Meadows this year. The world number four said he would not return to the court until he was fully fit.
Wawrinka has a 5–19 (20.83%) record against Novak Djokovic, however the two have contested numerous close matches and therefore it is considered a highly competitive rivalry since 2013, including four five-setters at Grand Slam level. Wawrinka defeated Djokovic at all three Grand Slam tournaments which he won,including two finals.
Former world number one Novak Djokovic announced he would miss this year’s US Open on the advice of his doctors.The Serbian was forced to retire during a Wimbledon quarter-final clash with Tomas Berdych and will now rest the longstanding elbow injury.Djokovic has won the US Open twice, the last time in 2015 when he beat Roger Federer in the final in New York.
Djokovic is an all-court player with emphasis on aggressive baseline play.His backhand is widely regarded as one of the best in today’s game. He is also one of the greatest movers on the court with superior agility and defensive ability, which allows him to hit winners from seemingly defensive positions.
2014 US Open runner-up will miss rest of the season with torn tendon in right wrist.At the 2014 U.S. Open, Nishikori became the first man from Japan to reach a Grand Slam final, losing the championship match to Marin Cilic. Nishikori advanced to his second major semifinal in New York a year ago, before losing to Wawrinka.
With solid and consistent shots on both wings, Nishikori plays most comfortably at the baseline, using dominating groundstrokes to push his opponents around and hit winners. He also has the ability to play defensively and hit consistently to wear out his opponents.
Just five days to the US Open, Milos Raonic withdrew with a wrist injury to join a host of big names who will miss the final grand slam of the year.The world number 11 pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.Raonic reached the fourth round of the US Open in three consecutive years from 2012-14, his best results at the final Grand Slam of the season.
Raonic is frequently described as having one of the best serves among his contemporaries.The Canadian is among the strongest servers in the Open Era, winning 91% of service games to rank third all-time.
US Open begins on Monday August 28.