Rafael Nadal is most commonly known as the King of Clay, which is to say that he exhibits a trait that renders him invincible on the surface. Although Nadal has failed to live up to the title during the previous two editions of the French Open, he cannot be stripped off the honour just yet.
While the Spaniard has shown that he shines brighter than most players on clay, he is yet to convince the world when it comes to the other surfaces. While being known as the King of clay is not bad, it is an insult when compared to the King of Tennis. Nadal was the king of tennis in 2010 when he won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
If Rafa intends to clear the air of skepticism regarding his abilities to adapt to surfaces apart from clay, a victory at US Open 2012 will go a long way in accomplishing that mountain of a feat. His last victory at a major event on a non-clay surface was at US Open 2010. He was defeated by David Ferrer at the Australian Open in 2011 and by Djokovic in the finals of Wimbledon 2011, US Open 2011 and Australian Open 2012. This year’s Wimbledon had a shock in store though. He was not defeated by the like of Novak or Federer but met his end at the hands of lowly 100th ranked Lukas Rosol in the 2nd round.
Although there are many hurdles to scale before Nadal can life the title, there is one person he should keep a keen eye on, defending champion Novak Djokovic.
Let us consider Novak’s odds briefly. He will face the stiffest of competition from the remaining of the top 4.
A meeting with Roger Federer is inevitable as it has been the last five years with Federer winning with considerable ease in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Only the 2008 semifinals went past three sets. Djokovic retaliated with victories at the semifinal in the previous two occasions but victory did not come easy for Novak. Both his victories were hard fought, five set marathons.
The outcome of their meeting at US Open 2012 will be hard to determine keeping in mind Federer’s mind blowing performance at Wimbledon but Djokovic has the edge since he has displayed superiority in the recent past on hard court.
Ever since his defeat at the hands of Nadal at the 2010 US Open final. Djokovic has won four consecutive matches on hard court including the finals of US Open 2011.
Although Nadal will come back more determined than ever, courtesy his second round exit at the Wimbledon, statistics speak against him as Nadal’s 80.9 winning percentage is but a petty accomplishment when compared to Novak’s 84.6 winning percentage in New York.
Murray is clearly closing the gap between himself the the big three. His most recent accomplishment towards this being the finals of Wimbledon. He gave it all he had to win the most coveted of grand slams but his dream was brutally destroyed by Federer’s brilliance.
But Murray is not to be written off just yet. The Scottsman has produced some amazing tennis in New York in the past. His abilities are now further backed by coach and legend, Ivan Lendl. Andy Murray is one player that can create waves if events spell his way.
The result of this meeting is far more unpredictable than the rest but then again, Novak Djokovic is the winner on paper.
The USTA announced that World number 1 Roger Federer, defending champion Novak djokovic and third seeded Rafael Nadal will lead the men’s field while Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka will lead the Women’s field at US Open 2012. 101 top ranked players in the men’s field and 102 top players in the women’s field will get direct entry to the US Open 2012.