Sunday, August 30, 2015

US Open 2015 Preview

The 2015 US Open could be a slam that we  look back on 10, 20, 30 years from now and point to as one of the most important majors in tennis history. Opportunity knocks for the sport of tennis to grow immensely in popularity over the next 15 days.

The main reason of course is Serena Williams' pursuit of the Grand Slam, which she is seven wins away from completing in her home country. It is the most prestigious accomplishment in tennis, and it hasn't been achieved since Steffi Graf in 1988. The sports world comes to a stop whenever a horse comes close to winning the triple crown. Imagine the excitement when as a human gets closer and closer to an even more impressive achievement in a real sport.

Here is a look at the other main story lines that make this US Open one of the most exciting majors in recent memory.

Youth Meets Experience - The men's singles draw is both as old and as young as it has been in recent memory. There are 10 teenagers in the main draw, representing the future of tennis and 40 players over 30 years old, representing what has been a golden era on the ATP. There are going to be several key match ups between players from the two groups, meaning lots of opportunities for a teenager to make a breakthrough on tennis' biggest stage.

The two matches that jump out from the draw are 18-year old Borna Coric against 14-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal and 20-year old Nick Kyrgios against London Olympics gold medalist Andy Murray. A win for either of the young challengers would rock the tennis world and could usher in a new era.

The other key potential matches between youth and experience are
Frances Tiafoe vs. Viktor Troicki
Hyeon Chung vs. Stan Wawrinka
Jared Donaldson vs. Roger Federer
Alexander Zverev vs. Roger Federer
Tommy Paul vs. Novak Djokovic
Lucas Pouille vs. Marin Cilic
Andrey Rublev vs. Kevin Anderson
Yoshihito Nishioka vs. Andy Murray
Dominic Thiem vs. Andy Murray
Bernard Tomic vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Thanasi Kokkinakis vs. Richard Gasquet

A win for anyone in the left column would be huge for tennis and not only create buzz for the rest of the tournament, but be a historic moment to look back on five years from now.

Bryan Brother's Pursuit of 17 - There's also the No. 1 men's doubles pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan, who are looking for a sixth US Open title and 17th grand slam title, which would tie John Newcomb and Roger Federer's record for most grand slam titles in a single discipline.

Americans of New York - There are 22 women and 17 men from the United States in the singles draws, including the No. 1 female tennis player Serena Williams in search of the Grand Slam.

Serena's Star-Spangled Path - This will be Madison Keys' first time playing in Flushing Meadows since reaching the Australian Open semifinals this season. She along with Sloane Stephens, who won her first career title in Washington D.C. a few weeks ago, could be two of Serena Williams' opponents in the first week. Venus Williams waits as a potential quarterfinal opponent for her sister.

American Men's Youth: For the American men, fans will get a glimpse of the future with a stacked lineup of young talent. At 22 years old, Jack Sock is at a career-high ranking of No. 28 in the world and seeded at the US Open for the first time. The draw also features American teens such as Tommy Paul (18), who is making his grand slam debut, Frances Tiafoe (17), who is one of the most hyped teenagers in the sport, and Jared Donaldson (18), who is the third youngest player in the top 150 in the world.

Fish's Fairwell - For Mardy Fish, this will be his last US Open. The American reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 and held the torch as the American No. 1 for more than a year. He won five of his six singles titles in the United States and reached the second week of the US Open four times.

Djokovic's Perfect Season - Through the first three quarters of the season, the Serb has been as good as anyone in tennis has ever been leading into the US Open. If he reaches the final in Flushing Meadows, he will be the first player since Roger Federer in 2009 to reach the final of all four slams. If he wins the title, he will become the fifth male player in the Open Era with double-digit slam titles.

Federer's Quest for 18 - At 34 years old the Swiss Maestro has his best shot to win a grand slam title in years, following his title in Cincinnati, where he defeated the US Open's No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic and No. 3 seed Andy Murray. If he gets it done, he will be the only male tennis player with 18 ever tie Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in grand slam singles titles, trailing only Steffi Graf and Serena Williams.

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