What to Watch for in This Year’s US Open

Author bio: Jerome Manson is a sports enthusiast who enjoys both watching games and writing about them. When he is not cheering on his team from the stands, Jerome is blogging about 2012 US Open tennis for selectaticket.com.

Football fans have the Super Bowl. Baseball fans get the World Series every October. NASCAR fans, they have the Daytona 500. These are the most prestigious and anticipated events in all of sports. They are actually something even akin to a second Christmas to sports spectators. The aforementioned events happen just once a year, like the Christmas holiday. Soccer fans really get the short end of the stick; they’re big competition, the World Cup, comes around just once every four years. Tennis spectators are not so unlucky. In fact, if anything, the inverse is true for these fans. Once a year, they have four major tournaments to look forward to. These tournaments, the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, combine to make up what is known as the Grand Slam. That is any player who can win each tournament in a single year will have won the grand slam (professional golf has a similar system). Needless to say, it’s not so easy. In the Open era, only three players have accomplished it: Margaret Court, Steffi Graf and Rod Laver. Many more have won all four tournaments over the course of a career, but not all four in the course of one calendar year. Still, to win just one of these tournaments is an unrivaled thrill in a tennis player’s career. For American tennis players, that’s doubly true of the US Open.

The 2012 US Open is scheduled to commence on August 27, with final matches on September 9. The tournament will take place at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, the same venue that has played host since 1978. Like years past, the US Open promises to bring together an assortment of the world’s best tennis players, men and women. This includes defending champions Novak Djokovic and Samantha Stosur, along with other world class tennis luminaries such as Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Victoria Azarenka, Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova. All of these players will compete rigorously for a piece of tennis history, a sense of pride, a chance to move up in this year’s rankings, and oh yeah, $1.8 million.

This year’s favorites, barring injury, are current number one players Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka. All 33 courts at the Billie Jean King Center use a DecoTurf cushioned acrylic surface. Hard court surfaces like this do nothing but benefit these two exquisite players. The US Open favors players with powerful serves and who can thrive on the baseline, two characteristics of both Azarenka and Djokovic. And in Djokovic’s case, his play since the beginning of 2011 on has quite possibly been unparalleled with anyone, possibly going as far back at the dawn of the Open era in 1968. However, Roger Federer has an outrageously superb track record here as well. He was victorious in five consecutive tourneys, from 2004 until 2008. And on the women’s side, power players like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are not going down without a fight.

US Open spectators, which typically number over 28,000 each day of the tournament, are often treated to stunning upsets too. Just last year, no one anticipated that Samantha Stosur would beat perennial favorite Serena Williams for the title. Not only did Stosur win, she did it handily, in straight sets. Possibly the most famous upset in tourney history happened in 2009, when Federer, who was gunning for his sixth consecutive victory, lost to relative unknown Juan Martin del Potro. The young Argentinian has not won, or even placed in a Grand Slam tournament since. His historic 2009 victory, however, is more than any tennis player could really ask for.

This year’s US Open will, per the usual, thrill and delight tennis fans the world over. It will feature astonishing play, wild upsets and drama that even the best playwrights could not conjure. Tennis fans are waiting with breathless anticipation.


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