Novak Djokovic: Breaking Down Djoker's Chances at U.S. Open

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJuly 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a return against Rafael Nadal of Spain during the Men's Final on Day Fifteen of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Wimbledon is over, and while Novak Djokovic will get his chance at revenge on the grass during the Olympics, the U.S. Open will be his next chance for a major. 

With the exception of Australia, where Djoker has taken home three titles, the U.S. Open has been the 25-year-old's favorite tournament. 

OK, I can't read his mind. I don't know what tournaments he truly likes, but it certainly has been his second-best major. The talented Serbian has been to the finals three times in New York, winning one title and compiling an 84.6 win percentage. 

But while getting back to the hard court will certainly will be a sight for Djokovic's sore eyes, Wimbledon 2012 made it painfully clear how much talent surrounds him. 

With that being said, let's take a look at Djokovic's biggest threats at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, and how well he'll deal with those threats.


Roger Federer

It won't be a U.S. Open without Federer taking on Djokovic, as these two have met the previous five years. 

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, Fed-Ex had the clear advantage, taking out Djoker in the finals once and in the semifinals twice. Only one of those matches—the 2008 semifinals—made it past three sets. 

Of course, Djokovic has gotten his revenge the past two years, as he has taken out Federer in the semifinals on both occasions.

With that being said, both of those matches were hard-fought five-set bouts, so it's hard to draw a line between these two. At this point, especially considering the fact that the 30-year-old Federer looked more like he was 25 during the Wimbledon semifinals and finals, there's no separating the world No. 1 and 2. 

I would give the advantage to Djokovic on a hard court, but the gap is once again closing.


Rafael Nadal

Nadal took out Djokovic in the 2010 U.S. Open final, but since then, Djoker has won four straight on hard courts, including a 2011 finals win in the U.S. Open. 

Before the last two finals appearances, however, Nadal has struggled in New York, as his 80.95 winning percentage is by far his worst of any major, although 80 percent is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. 

It's not a smart idea to count Nadal out, especially as he'll come back from his shocking second-round defeat more determined than ever, but I would still give Djokovic the advantage, as he is clearly the better hard-court player right now. 


Andy Murray

The world No. 4 is rapidly closing the gap between him and the Big 3, and he proved that at Wimbledon.

In Murray's fourth ever finals appearance in a major, he lost for the fourth the time. But it was a huge difference from his first three finals.

Murray fought Roger Federer tooth and nail, winning the first set and not giving up during the final three. The Scottsman didn't lose, he was just beaten by a better Roger Federer.

With that being said, Murray has fallen apart a bit after two of his last three finals defeats, so that is worth paying attention to.

When it comes down to it, though, this Murray looks like a new Murray. He is being coached by Ivan Lendl and appears to be taking some large steps toward winning a major. 

So despite him being major-less, Murray's arrow is without a doubt pointing up.

Additionally, he's beaten Djoker two out of the past four times on a hard-court and he took him to five sets in Australia. Djoker better watch out for the "other" 25-year-old.