This is by far one of Nadal’s most consistent seasons, already reaching eight finals. However, five of those finals have been lost—some in a convincing fashion—to the flying Serb.
The overwhelming favorite to lift the title at Flushing Meadows has to be Djokovic. He has reached the finals of the U.S. Open twice and it almost seems inevitable that he will reach the final again this year.
After all of the Serb’s successes this season we tend to forget that hard courts are actually his preferred surface—kind of scary. Can the winning machine become even more dangerous? The same certainly cannot be said for the Spanish Matador.
From now until the end of the season Nadal’s “worst” surface is in play and with his confidence dropping every time he meets a certain 24-year-old opposite the net, it looks like a long shot for Nadal to retain his title at the U.S. Open.
It is pretty much assured that the Mallorca native will reach the semis of the event, but from then on anything is possible. He could meet a very inspired Roger Federer or Andy Murray in the semis and, should he pass that test, the Spaniard would most probably meet Djokovic.
If the Monaco resident Djokovic gets eliminated before meeting Nadal, then the Spaniard's chances of retaining his title go up tenfold.
Nevertheless, the wild card of this year’s U.S. Open will be Mr. Sweet 16 himself, Federer. The Swiss has won the event five consecutive times. The courts play fast and suit his fast attacking game, but will this be enough to beat a Nadal or Djokovic?
It is very possible and plausible that Federer can beat Nadal in these types of conditions, but with the way that Djokovic has been playing this year he is absolutely unbeatable.
Should Djokovic and Federer meet, with the latter bringing his A-game to the party, we still get the impression that Federer would lose.
At this moment in time the Serbian seems fairly unbeatable. He is a mixture of attacking and defending purity, an all-rounder and a look into the future of what should be the perfect player of this new decade. Djokovic is a combination of all the positives from the past decades bundled into one player; he is a potpourri of tennis greats.
Predicting who would win the U.S. Open based on the Big Three’s form of the past six months is a no-brainer, so we might as well inscribe Djokovic’s name on the 2011 U.S. Open trophy.