Sports

Two neglected weeks

Growing up as a competitive tennis player, I oftentimes felt that the sport that I played wasn’t given enough credit by my peers. Now I’m almost 21 years old, and tennis still doesn’t get the attention it deserves from America. I’m sure many of you did not know or did not care that the U.S. Open, the biggest tennis tournament held in America, has been going on for the past two weeks. A lot of people give the excuse that there no longer are any skilled Americans in professional tennis, but this U.S. Open has proven that the United States definitely has some good talent.

For the most part, people know Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and — starting this year — Novak Djokovic. As of right now, all three of those men are in the quarterfinals or further in the tournament, which is pretty predictable. But, throughout the first rounds of the Open, many Americans were able to pull off upsets in order to reach the later rounds of the tournament.

Take Donald Young, who had never been past the second round in any major. Young, the enigmatic American talent, has had a rough time on his professional tour ever since becoming a professional at 17 years old. However, he rode the home-court advantage all the way into the fourth round, beating two top-20 players along the way. John Isner, another young American, is a bit more well known than Young because of the epic match he played against Frenchman Nicholas Mahut at Wimbledon. Isner, who is blessed with a ton of height and a tremendous serve, has always been known as a guy who will give opponents a tough match, but is never expected to break through to make a lot of noise in a major. This year, Isner took a good draw and great play all the way into the quarterfinals until he lost on Friday to Andy Murray, top-five in the world rankings.

Of course, we can’t talk about American tennis without at least mentioning Andy Roddick. Although Roddick hasn’t done anything in more than a couple of years, many fans believe that he is still the best American tennis player. This is far from the truth, but Roddick did surprise everyone this year by knocking off a couple of top-15 players on his way to a huge matchup against Rafael Nadal. Considering Roddick is an ex-U.S. Open Champion, this was a match that everyone was looking forward to. Unfortunately, Roddick was just outmatched by a better, younger player. The match wasn’t even close, and Roddick was barely able to get five games as Nadal steamrolled him.

Moving on, we see four familiar faces in the semifinals — Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray. These four players have been in the top four for what feels like forever, and that is a testament to their hard work and determination to compete with each other. Of the four, only Murray does not have a Grand Slam title, and he holds the burden of British tennis on his shoulders.

Can this be the year that Murray takes it all the way? The odds are stacked against the Englishman, considering he will be playing his fourth match in only five days, due to the rainstorms that hit the East Coast. Playing four high-quality matches against tough opponents, with two of them being Nadal and Federer or Djokovic is such a difficult task that I’d put Murray’s chances at below 10 percent. The safe pick at this point is Djokovic, who is coming off one of the best years in recent memory, but I will turn back the clock and choose Roger Federer to win it all, just because I think he won’t go out with at least one more title. He absolutely demolished a strong quarterfinal opponent, and I think he is really set to capture yet another Grand Slam title. All I know is that it should be a great weekend for tennis, and I wish more people could appreciate that.