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


Now 40, Williams’ career will come full circle as her final game will be played on the site of the first of her 23 Grand Slam victories, the 1999 US Open. Then just a teenager, Williams burst onto the scene to stun world No. 1 Martina Hingis in the final and take the first step on her path to two decades of dominance.

“If I could pick one thing that she possesses incredibly strong compared to other players and champions, it would be a strong determination to go through difficult phases and win anyway, year after year,” Marin Cilic, the 2014 US Open men’s champion, told CNN Sports.

“Hope she will have a fantastic US Open and the best goodbye is to go with the win. So [I’m] hoping she can.”

Since returning to the track in June after a year of injury, Williams has managed to win just one game and has been unable to come close to the form that helped her win her last Grand Slam title in 2017.

Even if she can’t reach a dream final by winning the title at Flushing Meadows, Williams’ 23 singles grand slam titles will be the most down by any open-era player and just one less than Margaret Court’s record.

Williams’ greatness is not just limited to singles, as he has won every grand slam title in doubles at least twice and two of four Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles. She has also made more than $94 million in career earnings on the job.

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

One of the many young talents likely to close that gap is defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu. The teenager stunned the sports world last year by becoming the first qualifier in history to win a grand slam title in what was only her second appearance in a slam main draw.
Raducanu and Williams crossed paths for the first time two weeks ago at the Cincinnati Masters, with Raducanu coming out on top in straight sets.

However, that was one of only 12 wins Raducanu has racked up in a season ravaged by injury and irregular form. However, she has shown flashes of the player who triumphed at Flushing Meadows last year, most notably in the recent demolition of two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati.

Two thousand of the 2,756 ranking points that currently rank Raducanu 11th in the world — and as high as 10th in June — came from her US Open win, and if she doesn’t come close to defending her crown, the 19-year-old will old plummet in the WTA world rankings.

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

Raducanu’s run in Cincinnati was ended at the hands of the world’s No. 8 Jessica Pegula, but it was a hard-fought game to finish off a week that will likely give Raducanu more confidence going into the US Open.

Among the stars looking to take Raducnu’s New York crown is world No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who won a whopping six singles titles in 2022.

The two-time French Open winner enters the tournament as the bookmakers’ favorite, but has only reached the fourth round at Flushing Meadows and struggled to form on the hard court in the run-up to the US Open.

However, Swiatek made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open at the start of the year, winning three consecutive WTA 1000 hard court events earlier in the season, so she undoubtedly has the ability to go all the way in New York.

Rafael Nadal aims for No. 23

In the men’s draw, all eyes are on Rafael Nadal, who wants to expand his men’s record 22 grand slam titles.

However, the 36-year-old has only played one game, a first-round defeat to Borna Ćorić at the Cincinnati Masters last week, since he withdrew from the Wimbledon semi-finals with an abdominal injury and it remains unclear how fit Nadal is for the US open.

“The most important thing for me is to stay healthy,” Nadal told reporters after the defeat. “It was a difficult injury to deal with, to be honest.

“The past month and a half hasn’t been easy because with a tear in the gut you don’t know when (you’ll be) 100 percent over the thing, so that affects me a little bit in terms of not (sure you can do your best in every service.”

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

Russia’s Medvedev, who has competed under a neutral flag since his country’s invasion of Ukraine, is the bookmakers’ favorite to take home the trophy and keep the crown he won in 2021 on the occasion of his first 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 and lost painfully after taking a two-set lead over Nadal.

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

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

Zverev’s absence from the draw puts all those players below him a place in the standings, meaning Nadal and Medvedev can now only meet in the final.

What's next for Novak Djokovic after the 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon?

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

The world No. 6 triumphed at Wimbledon earlier this year to win his 21st grand slam title and move to one of longtime rivals Nadal, but was unable to compete in any of the US Open warm-up events of the Tour in the United States or Canada.

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

“Unfortunately I can’t travel to New York this time for the US Open,” said Djokovic wrote on social media. “Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support.

“Good luck to my fellow players! Staying in good shape and positive spirit and waiting for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!”

With a wide open field, the men’s draw will be fascinating to watch – will Nadal tie Serena on 23 grand slam titles or will one more rise to rule in New York?

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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