Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of his generation. There are no real questions about that.
But don't you get bored with the tedious comparisons of Fed to other players? I know I do.
So I decided to look at the 2009 U. S. Open tennis championships from a slightly different point of view.
The Men’s Draw has been completed for the 2009 U.S. Open, and by now, the potential path to the title has been analyzed ad infinitum by experts who follow the game much more closely than I do.
So even though I will give some overviews of the who-might-meet-whom, I decided to give this slide show a very special twist...but more on that later.
Going into this year’s USO, Roger Federer has a fairly comfortable point lead (12,040 to 9,610) over still-pretty-new No. 2 Andy Murray, whose lead over the returning Rafa Nadal (585 points) is far more tenuous.
The two men at the top have the most points to defend, having made last year’s final, so Murray in particular needs a strong showing if he wishes to consolidate the gains he has made this summer.
Nadal leads Novak Djokovic by almost 1,400 points, and has little to worry about, short of a first round exit. . . which is quite possible.
The redoubtable Spaniard made the semis in Cincinnati, but the draw at the USO did him no favors.
He has the unenviable task of facing off with the ever-danger Richard Gasquet in the first round.
No sane fan of men’s tennis would skewer me if I picked Gasquet in an upset (though I’m not going quite that far.)
He would then likely face Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer in the second round; and if seedings held would be challenged by countryman Almagro, a pair of Frenchmen in Monfils and Tsonga, and the Scotsman Murray in the semis.
That’s a meat grinder that even an in-form Nadal would find vexing; look for Tsonga to take out Rafa in the Quarterfinals.
Was the draw truly random this year? Nadal drew two Frenchmen, and the Scot, Murray, drew a pair of Croats (if the seedings hold) in consecutive rounds in Ivo Karlovic and Marin Čilić in the third and fourth rounds.
Assuming Murray passes those tests (and he should), he will face down the hard-hitting Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the quarters. I’m riding with Murray.
Novak Djokovic has a fairly easy quarter. If everyone does their part, he should meet Andy Roddick, however, in the round of eight (the quarters). That’s where his tournament will end.
Roddick, in turn, would face Roger Federer in the semis, should he fell the Djoker. It’s a grand stroke of fortune that Roddick won the 2003 USO, otherwise he would bear the dubious title of BMNTWAM—Best Man to Never Win a Major (currently held by Murray). Will an Andy win the USO this year--Murray his first, or Roddick's second?
Though Federer has the easiest draw of all, he does face potential daunting tasks in the third (Lleyton Hewitt) and fourth rounds (Tommy Robredo). Should he (likely) pass those tests, he is seeded to face the steady Russian, Nikolay Davydenko, in the quarters.
Should both of them make it that far, the Djoker would face Fed in the semis. I don’t think I need to tell you who I favor; in case I do need to make it implicit, I’m putting my money on the man with the 8-4 career advantage.
Then again, Nole would have to defeat the mystifying Andy Roddick, who sizzled during Wimbledon but has curiously fizzled during the early portion of the hard court season.
I’m not going to give away who I’m predicting on that one. . .
I will now preview some of the key men’s players at the 2009 U.S. Open by comparing the gentlemen that I selected to wild beasts whose characteristics and skills show a remarkable resemblance to their human counterparts.
I did not use the top 10 (top 7, though).
Enjoy this unique trip through the men's draw, complete with my comparisons and predictions.