The North American hardcourt season is upon us and the US Open – the final grand slam of the year – is just four weeks away.
While the US Open is where Novak Djokovic reached his first major final back in 2007 and it is a place where the Serb has been the most consistent ever since, making the semis or better for the past eight years, Flushing Meadows is also a site where he has won just once, compared to five times in Melbourne and three at Wimbledon.
Djokovic’s best record is on hard courts – 83.3 per cent winning record compared to 81.7 per cent on grass and 79.6 on clay – but New York has not been too kind to the world No1 over the years with his most recent surprise loss there coming to Kei Nishikori in last year’s semi-finals.
So even though Djokovic heads to the city as the favourite, having won two majors already this season and with only three losses suffered since January, other players must realise that there is an opportunity to seize.
The US Open has seen five different champions in its last six editions which makes it the most open major compared to the other three in recent years.
Could we get a surprise winner like Marin Cilic last season? It certainly seems possible.
With most eyes now fixed on the hardcourts – barring a bizarrely-scheduled clay event at Kitzbuhel – here’s a recap of the last week.
Rafa gets back (some of) his long lost mojo
Getting out of tricky situations and ending up with an ATP 500 title could be just what the doctor ordered for Rafael Nadal to try and regain some of his confidence but the reality is the Spaniard still struggled on his presumably favourite surface en route to his trophy win in Hamburg.
Things change fairly quickly in tennis though and perhaps that victory could spur Nadal on when he heads to the US. But he will have to attend to that dodgy shoulder that saw him struggle on serve throughout the week in Germany, because he would never get away with some of those serves against players not named Fabio Fognini.
After searching for a coach, Ivanovic is back with Sears
Ana Ivanovic confirmed news we have known for a couple of weeks now, which is that she is back working with Nigel Sears – Andy Murray’s father-in-law – who coached her from 2011 to 2013.
Ivanovic has spoken a lot about how tough it is finding the right coach to work with and she attributed her recent semi-final result at the French Open to having a good team around her which included Mats Merkel, one of the adidas coaches.
But since Merkel is part of the adidas programme and can’t work with her full-time, Ivanovic went back to basics and decided to link up with someone she is comfortable with.
She didn’t have the best of results with Sears but who knows, maybe the new Ana can succeed with the Brit.
Genie’s still injured and pulls out of Washington
There seems to be no end in sight for Eugenie Bouchard’s woes as she was forced to pull out of Washington with the abdominal problem she suffered from at Wimbledon.
It’s unclear whether the Canadian will be ready for her home tournament in Toronto and from the looks of it, Bouchard’s season is shot and she’s better off preparing for 2016.