With the US Open entering the latter stages, it seems these rounds may signal a key point in shaping who may ultimately go on to claim the trophy. With former world number ones Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic absent, along with reigning champion Stan Wawrinka, it seems the men’s draw has a multitude of players who, although perhaps with the aforementioned absentees possessing superior experience at the pinnacle, possess the necessary credentials to obtain a high seeding, and this recognition may have acted as the catalyst in their quest to reach the final. With reigning women’s champion Angelique Kerber on the receiving end of the result in the opening round, the women’s draw seems to be similarly open, and with the trophy one of the most valuable pieces of silverware in the sport, it seems motivation for all may be at its peak.
Considering the tournament is one of the four Grand Slams, it seems to provide one of the most pivotal opportunities for players to both enhance their rankings and expand their trophy cabinet. Yet, its position in the calendar may be a focal point as, with the tournament the final of the four to be contested, it may be suggested the other Slams superiorly impact players, and thus be increasingly valued. Considering this year’s edition is the 137th in the sport’s history however, enabling it to be amongst the most established and recognised events on the tour, the tournament has cemented its high status, and with it the only Grand Slam to employ tiebreakers in every set of the match, it seems the constant innovation showcased may have contributed to this. As such, it may have been placed as the concluding Grand Slam in order for players to both utilise previous tournament experience to achieve, whilst also signalling the beginning of the quest to conclude the year at the pinnacle of the rankings, an achievement which ultimately elevates the contest’s importance further.
Entering the tournament, the men’s seedings seemed to have altered in the aftermath of Wimbledon, with particular players’ performances, most notably Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, both of whom have contested in finals, with the former concluding this year the victor, showcasing their experience at the pinnacle, and this ultimately seemed to elevate their rankings. Boasting the seedings of three and one respectively, they seem to have continued their consistency from recent months, and with a potential semi-final meeting forecoming, there may be another intriguing and competitive encounter, potentially superiorly impacting one of the pair prior to the ATP Finals.
Whilst the Men’s draw seems to be amassing the majority of the focus, predominantly due to the competitiveness of the draw, the women’s side may have showcased superior innovation, and this may be the crowning glory of this year’s edition. Previous Grand Slam victor Maria Sharapova’s inclusion after her 15-month absence seems to reemphasise this ideology, suggesting the competition may be prioritising redemption, and in providing opportunities for different players to succeed it may enable it’s standing to be elevated, as an influx of players strive to become involved in the tournament. This may be the driving factor behind five different male players winning the previous five editions of the tournament, and with three recent female victors also, it seems the tournament echoes the American ideology as the land of opportunity.
With the finals scheduled for the upcoming weekend, it seems the remaining players may be seeking to productively utilise these latter rounds, in which they may compete with various proficient players, to become more accomplished players themselves. This may be the main reason as to why the tournament may be useful, as whilst the victors may naturally be able to utilise their experience, contesting in a Grand Slam may solely reap dividends for all involved. Yet, with the other three Grand Slams perhaps held in superior stead, perhaps in part to their varying surfaces, there seems to be further achievements which the tournament may aspire to accomplish, and with innovation consistently showcased by the officials, the foundations seem to be already being laid in order to achieve this feat.
How might players utilise their previous Grand Slam experience to ensure success at the US Open?