US Open preview: Serena Williams’ final hurrah at residence grand slam headlines fascinating two weeks of tennis

Now 41 years of age, Williams’ profession will come full circle as her closing match is to be performed on the website of the primary of her 23 grand slam singles wins, the 1999 US Open. Then simply a young person, Williams burst onto the scene to stun world No. 1 Martina Hingis within the closing and lay the primary stepping stone on her path to 20 years of dominance.

“If I could just pick one thing that she possesses incredibly strongly compared to other players and champions, it’s a strong determination to go through difficult stages and to win no matter what, year after year,” Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open males’s champion, instructed CNN Sport.

“I’m hoping that she’s going to have a fantastic US Open and to give the best farewell is to go with the win. So [I’m] hoping that she can do it.”

Since returning to the circuit again in June after a 12 months out by harm, Williams has managed to win only a single match and has been unable to get near the shape that helped her win her final grand slam title in 2017.

Even when she can’t obtain a dream closing flourish by lifting the title at Flushing Meadows, Williams’ 23 grand slam singles titles will go down as essentially the most by any participant within the Open Period and only one shy of Margaret Court docket’s all-time file.

Williams’ greatness is just not solely restricted to the singles court docket, having gained each doubles grand slam title at the very least twice and successful two of 4 combined doubles grand slam titles. She has additionally achieved greater than $94 million in on-court profession earnings.

Few tennis gamers have transcended the game like Williams and her presence will undoubtedly be missed on the Tour.

One of many many younger abilities that can possible be plugging that hole is defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu. {The teenager} shocked the world of sport final 12 months by turning into the primary qualifier in historical past to win a grand slam title in what was solely her second look in the primary draw of a slam.
Raducanu and Williams crossed paths for the primary time two weeks in the past on the Cincinnati Masters, with Raducanu popping out on prime in straight units.

Nonetheless, that was considered one of simply 12 wins that Raducanu has mustered in a season that has been blighted by accidents and patchy type. She’s proven flashes, although, of the participant that triumphed at Flushing Meadows final 12 months, most notably within the latest demolition of two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati.

Two thousand of the two,756 rating factors that presently have Raducanu eleventh on the planet — and as excessive as tenth again in June — got here from her US Open win, and failure to get near defending her crown will see the 19-year-old plummet down the WTA world rankings.

Emma Raducanu secured one of the most remarkable grand slam wins in history at the 2021 US Open.

Raducanu’s run in Cincinnati was ended by the hands of world No. 8 Jessica Pegula, however it was a closely-fought contest to complete every week that can possible give Raducanu elevated confidence going into the US Open.

Among the many stars hoping to snag Raducanu’s New York crown can be Poland’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who has gained a outstanding six singles titles in 2022.

The 2-time French Open winner goes into the event because the bookmakers’ favourite, however has solely ever reached the fourth spherical at Flushing Meadows and has struggled for type on the exhausting court docket within the lead as much as the US Open.

Nonetheless, Swiatek did attain the Australian Open semifinals at the beginning of the 12 months and gained three successive WTA 1000 exhausting court docket occasions earlier within the season, so she little question has the flexibility to go all the best way in New York.

Rafael Nadal goals for No. 23

Within the males’s draw, all eyes can be on Rafael Nadal as he appears so as to add to his males’s file 22 grand slam titles.

Nonetheless, the 36-year-old has performed only one match, a primary spherical defeat to Borna Ćorić on the Cincinnati Masters final week, since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semifinals with an stomach harm and it stays unclear simply how match Nadal is forward of the US Open.

“The main thing for me is to stay healthy,” Nadal instructed reporters after the defeat. “It has been a difficult injury to manage, to be honest.

“The final month and a half hasn’t been straightforward as a result of, having a tear on the stomach, you do not know when (you’ll be) 100% over the factor, in order that impacts me somewhat bit by way of not (being) positive if you’ll be able to attempt your greatest in each serve.”

But New York has been a happy hunting ground for Nadal over the years with the Spaniard winning the title on four occasions, most recently in 2019 when he came through a five-set epic against Daniil Medvedev.

Russia’s Medvedev, competing under a neutral flag since his country’s invasion of Ukraine, is the bookmakers’ favorite to lift the trophy and retain the crown he won in 2021 to mark his maiden grand slam victory.

The 26-year-old’s lone title in 2022 came on the hard court in Mexico earlier this month, but Medvedev did reach the Australian Open final at the start of the year, agonizingly losing out after holding a two-set lead over Nadal.

Alexander Zverev, who would have been among the favorites to win, confirmed earlier this week that he was pulling out of the US Open after failing to recover from injury in time.

The world No. 2 underwent surgery back in June on torn ligaments in his ankle, which he sustained after landing awkwardly in the French Open semifinals against Nadal.

Zverev’s absence from the draw moves all those players ranked below him up a place in the seedings, meaning Nadal and Medvedev can now only face each other in the final.

Following 21st grand slam title at Wimbledon, what's next for Novak Djokovic?

Novak Djokovic confirmed on Thursday that he would not be competing at Flushing Meadows in 2022. The United States’ vaccination rules for non-US citizens meant the Serbian would not have been granted a visa to enter the country, so Nole will wait at least one more year before returning to the Big Apple.

The world No. 6 triumphed at Wimbledon earlier this year to win his 21st grand slam title and move to within one of long-time rival Nadal, but has been unable to play in any of the Tour’s US Open warmup events in the States or Canada.

The US Open will be the second grand slam this year that Djokovic will miss out on due to his unvaccinated status, after he twice had his visa revoked ahead of the Australian Open in January.

“Sadly, I won’t be able to journey to NY this time for US Open,” Djokovic wrote on social media. “Thanks #NoleFam in your messages of affection and help.

“Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!”

With a large open subject, the boys’s draw can be fascinating to observe — will it’s Nadal tying Serena on 23 grand slam singles titles or will one other rise as much as reign in New York?