New world number one Rafal Nadal and Roger Federer are firm favourites to claim the final Tennis Grand Slam of the year, the US Open.
Federer and Nadal have wound back the clock in 2017, and they have dominated taking the previous Grand Slam events. Nadal won in France, with Federer taking the titles in Australia and in Wimbledon.
With defending champion Stan Wawrinka already ruled out, Andy Murray confirmed he would be missing at Flushing Meadows on the eve of the New York showpiece.
Now Murray is not expected to play again this year due to a hip problem, which will mean that he would drop out of the world’s top-20 by the start of 2018.
“I want to be back on court as soon as I can,” said Murray.
“If it means that I can play before the end of the year, then that’s what I would love to do. I miss competing and I’ll try to get myself back on court as soon as I can, but obviously I’ll need to make the correct decision and really think it through these next couple of days with my team.”
Favourite for the US title is Federer and he is hoping to win and create some history, as the current world number three would move up to number one with victory and that would see the five-time US winner become the oldest World No. 1 since rankings were established in 1973.
36-year-old Federer is due to clash with Nadal in the semi-finals and he is hoping that is how the tournament pans out.
“We never played in New York so I think that would be fun for everybody involved,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re both thinking that far ahead. I’m sure it will be a nice prospect.
“There are 60-plus players in between us that don’t agree in our section that we should make it to the semis. We have our work cut out there. But I’d love to play Rafa here in New York. Hopefully that would be a great atmosphere and one again where we play great like at the Australian Open.”
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 27, 2017
Having just returned to number one, Nadal wants to stay that way and he admits he would rather face Federer in the final.
“If I am in semifinals, I prefer to play against another [player]’’ Nadal said. “That is obvious, no? I am not that way. Sounds very good, but the real thing I prefer to play against another player, an easier one if it’s possible.
“I know you want to hear the other way, that I would love to play him. Of course I understand that’s gonna be great for our history. Is true we played in all [other] Grand Slam finals. We never played here and we are not going to play in the finals. Finals are more special than semi-finals.’’
Last years Flushing Meadows champion Wawrinka has had to withdraw due to a knee injury and he will miss the rest of the season. Novak Djokovic is also out for the season meaning both of last years finalists will miss out.
Outside of the usual contenders Germany’s Alexander Zverev is seeded fourth and after already winning 5 tournaments this season looks a good outside bet to make it to the final.
In the Women’s side of the tournament it looks even more wide open with the absence of Serena Williams.
Maria Sharapova has been granted a wild card to play at Flushing Meadows, it will be her first Grand Slam appearance since she completed her 15 month doping ban. At around 20/1 she is not expected to contend but she can never be ruled out in big events.
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) August 15, 2017
Sharapovas inclusion has been criticised by many players on the tour and she was denied a wild card into the French Open but former champion Billie Jean King tweeted she was glad to see her back and that her suspension had been served.
Glad to see USTA give Maria Sharapova a wild card, suspension over, great for the sport to have her back. https://t.co/0l0jJuMKfL
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 15, 2017
Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza goes in as the pre-tournament favourite. Muguruza has continued her good run of form since Wimbledon winning by winning the recent Western and Southern Open. She beat fellow Flushing meadows contender Simona Halep (10/1) in the final.
Karolina Pliskova, Elina Svitolina and Britain’s Jo Konta make up the other top seeded players likely to be in contention for this years title.
Konta is looking forward to a tough tournament at Flushing Meadows.
“I approach every tournament from the get-go that it’s going to be tough and I accept that fact,” said Konta.
“I’m not looking for any confirmation or any relief because I’ve accepted the fact that from my first match, I’m going to have a tough battle.”
We spoke to Unibet’s Alistair Gill to get their take on the final Grand Slam of the year
With the last five editions of the US Open having been won by five different players, and seven players having divided the last nine US Open crowns with only Djokovic (2011, 2015) and Nadal (2010, 2013) claiming multiple titles in this span, predicting the winner of the US Open is never an easy task.
However, things are looking very rosy for the top 2 players both in the world and in the betting, Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer. They are miles ahead of the market, Federer the favourite at 9/5 and Nadal at 11/4, with the next favourite, Alexander Zverev, way back at 21/4. It is still hard though to not think that these prices still represent value.
With last year’s 2 finalists Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka announcing they would not play again this season and with Andy Murray pulling out, it’s tough to look beyond these titans of the game. With Nadal ranked number 1 in the world, but Federer being the favourite, deservedly so after his recent Wimbledon win and past domination at this competition, Nadal to finish in the top 2, 19/10 with Unibet, could be the bet of the tournament!
As is usually the case in the Women’s side of the tournament, things are a lot more open. Garbiee Muguruza won her second Grand Slam title at Wimbledon 2017, becoming the first woman to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles since Serena Williams, after previously winning the French Open in 2016, a feat which sees her installed as favourite here at 4/1, probably rightly so.
At just 23 years old, having shown the form and composure she has to be a double Open winner already, it’s hard to think she won’t have an impact on proceedings here.
Venus Williams has reached both the Australian and Wimbledon finals this year, and could represent some great value at 20/1 to win this one. If the feeling is that that could be one step too far at the age of 37, she can be backed to reach the final at 6/1.
After a patchy return to tennis following a 15 month drugs ban and subsequent injury woe, Maria Sharapova will be bursting to return to Open action. If she can find a favourable draw and get through the first 2 rounds injury free, she may start to find some rhythm and return to former greatness, meaning 18/1 with Unibet could be great value under the right circumstances.