With the US Open on the horizon and the Olympics in the setting sun, there are a couple of players to watch out for in 2008 at Flushing Meadows.
The obvious player to watch is the new world No. 1, Rafael Nadal.
Nadal’s Olympic triumph proved to us, and more importantly to himself, that he can win on the grueling surface they call hard courts. When Nadal has his say, he may just make the hard courts look...not so hard.
James Blake had a strong Olympics, reaching the quarters and beating Roger Federer along the way. Blake has made a run at the Open once before, and this year he will be the top American to watch. Sorry, Roddick fans.
Going into this US Open, it is not a question of whether Roger Federer can win but more about who will oust the disgraced champion. Federer as an underdog? Who would have thought?
Serbian Novak Djokovic will try to rebound from a disappointing Wimbledon. Djokovic made the final last year at Flushing Meadows. He may be Nadal’s only challenger.
On the women’s side its wide open. A dark horse for the ladies' trophy may be Elena Dementieva. Coming off the biggest win of her career in the Olympics, she’s made the final of the Open on one occasion (2004). She may finally have the mental fortitude to pull through.
A safe pick is one of the Williams sisters. The rest of the women’s draw is shaky at best.
The US Open begins next Monday.