Rafael Nadal is back on top of the tennis world. Not only did he win his yearly slam, the French Open, but he also won Wimbledon for the second time earlier this month. This is also the second time that Nadal has completed the elusive French Open/Wimbledon double. No one has achieved that feat since Bjorn Borg.
Still there is a hole in Nadal’s stellar resume: the US Open. He is well aware of this. Right after he won the Wimbledon title, Nadal said that he would do his best to make a run for the title. “For sure the U.S. Open is going to be one of my goals for the rest of my career,” he said.
At 24, Nadal has eight grand slams under his belt. The question is this: will he make it number nine at the US Open? There are strong reasons to think that he will. But there are also a lot of reasons to think that he won’t add to his slam total this fall.
Let’s start with the cons first. One could make the argument that Nadal never does amazingly well in the fall. The grind of the season tends to take a toll on his form, making him vulnerable. Let’s not forget that his knees kept him out of two slams in 2009, and caused him to withdraw in the Australian Open quarterfinals.
The courts aren’t necessarily in his favor, either. The US Open courts are among the fastest courts out there. While Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009, the courts in the US are a bit faster. A big hitter like a Juan Martin Del Potro or Thomas Berdych can hit him off the court. While Nadal has retooled his game to be more offensive, he’s not a pure attacking player. He won’t be able to survive ten behind the baseline like he can at the French.
Still, there is plenty of good reason to think that Nadal will win the US Open this year. While Nadal never really posted stellar results in the fall, let’s not forget that he’s been to the semis of the event twice. He made it to the final four with an injury last year and lost to an in-form Del Potro. That’s not a result to sneeze at. How well could an in-form Nadal do? Clearly a title here isn’t out of the question.
Also, Nadal has been cutting his schedule down. He skipped some usual tournaments before the French so that he would be healthy. While he still had some issues with the knees, it didn’t hinder his play. It’s safe that he’ll do the same here to boost his chances. A rested Nadal certainly would be able to grind for two weeks to bag the title.
So, it all boils down to an opinion. We honestly won’t know how well Nadal will do until the tournament starts in a month and a half. It’s hard to bet against the world number one, but there are reasons why you wouldn’t want to pencil him in right away.
Diane Pucin. “Rafael Nadal Looking to Add US Open to Resume.” http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/04/sports/la-sp-0705-wimbledon-20100705