Nobody should be surprised if Roger Federer is ousted early at the 2013 U.S. Open, and he's not the only star who could be sent packing in the first few rounds.
Flushing Meadows hosts the final Grand Slam tournament of the season, and when the action begins on Monday, Aug. 26, Andy Murray and Serena Williams will attempt to defend their hard-won titles from a year ago.
A hard-court event, the U.S. Open caters to players whose games are best suited for speed and power. Interestingly enough, however, a man known as "The King of Clay" may be the hottest tennis player on the men's side, as Rafael Nadal has a perfect 15-0 record on hard courts this season.
Hint: Nadal isn't someone you should expect to lose early.
Here's a look at a few of the world's top players who have been slumping lately and are consequently in danger of being on the wrong end of an "oh-my-gosh-I-can't-believe-they-just-lost" upset.
Neither he nor his fans want to believe it, but there's no escaping the truth: Federer is slowly but surely losing his ability to compete at the level necessary to win Grand Slam tournaments.
We were all stunned when the Swiss champion was knocked out in the second round of the 2013 Wimbledon Championship by little-known Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, but Federer's long run of success had to come to an end at some point.
Unbelievably, Federer has only won a single title this season, and he hasn't looked comfortable all season long, which has been illustrated by his search for a new racket, which he abandoned as the U.S. Open drew closer, as noted by SI.com.
I'm not ready to count the old man out of this tournament altogether, but I also won't be surprised in the least if Federer is beaten in the first few rounds. He'll always be a champion, but I'll frankly be more surprised to see him win the U.S. Open than get beaten early.
There's no way the defending champion will be defeated in the first few rounds, right?
Along with the burden of defending his title at Flushing Meadows, Murray is coming off a momentous victory at Wimbledon this summer, where he became the first British man to win the Grand Slam in 77 years, as noted by USA Today:
However, since winning at Wimbledon, Murray's stellar game appears to have been misplaced, as the Brit has been ousted in straight sets by Ernests Gulbis and Tomas Berdych in his past two tournaments.
That's not the way you draw it up. Players want to be playing their best entering Grand Slam tournaments, not their worst.
The world's No. 4-ranked women's tennis player has never found success at the U.S. Open.
Since her first singles match at the 2006 U.S. Open, Radwanksa has never gotten out of the fourth round and has lost in the second round four out of seven times.
Her career record at Flushing Meadows in singles matches is 13-7.
If she manages to work herself into the conversation as a contender for the title in the quarterfinals or later, it will be a major story.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78.
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