After setting the stage for the women’s draw a couple days ago, it’s time to turn our attention to the gents’ side of things at the 2015 US Open.
When third-seeded Novak Djokovic beat unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to take the 2008 Australian Open, it marked the first major title for the the young Serb. He didn’t win another until surging to No. 1 in the world by winning at the Aussie, Wimbledon, and the US Open in 2011. At that point, Nole looked primed to dominate the tennis world for years to come. However, he won just three majors over the next three years.
In 2015, Djokovic has once again established himself as the best in the world. He won in Melbourne and at Wimbledon and reached the at the French Open. Looking to make it three majors in four tries on the season, Djokovic comes to the US Open as a 1/1 favorite.
What does the rest of the competition look like?
Andy Murray (9/2) – Like Djokovic circa 2011, Murray appeared ready to win titles in bulk after taking the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon. However, he’s now gone eight majors without a victory and has only reached one final. He was ousted in the semis at the French Open and Wimbledon this year. He’s been knocked out of the US Open in the quarterfinals each of the last two years.
Roger Federer (7/1) – With just one major title since 2010 (at Wimbledon in 2012), Federer is simply not the player he was when he dominated the sport for six years. A 17-time major champion, and five-time winner at the US. Open, “R-Fed” hasn’t reached a major final outside of Wimbledon since 2011. He lost in straight sets to surprise champ Marin Cilic last year in the semis.
Rafael Nadal (10/1) – A 14-time major champ (nine of which came in Paris), Nadal has looked like a shell of himself this year. After dropping a quarterfinal match at the Australian Open to Tomas Berdych and getting dominated by Djokovic in the quarters at Roland Garros, Nadal fell in the second round at Wimbledon to qualifier Dustin Brown. That said, he won the US Open in 2010 and 2013.
Stan Wawrinka (12/1) – After beating Federer in straight sets during the French Open quarterfinals, Wawrinka got by Tsonga and then Djokovic to take his second major title. (He also has an Aussie Open title to his name.) At Wimbledon this year, he fell 11-9 in the fifth set against Richard Gasquet in the quarters. He has made just one U.S. Open semifinals, but is playing well, and has dramatically improved his play on hard courts during the past few years.
Kei Nishikori (15/1) – Nishikori made his deepest major run at the US Open last year, reaching the finals (where he fell to Cilic in straight sets). The young Japanese up-and-comer was understandably exhausted by the time the finals rolled around; he had to oust Murray in the quarters and then Djokovic in the semis. He advanced to the quarterfinals at this year’s Australian Open and French Open before withdrawing from Wimbledon in the second round with a calf injury.
It is hard to bet against Djokovic seeing as how the other top contenders all have reasons to doubt them. Djokovic is only 9-8 in major finals, but the majority of his losses came against Nadal and Federer in their prime. And neither of them have looked in their prime for sometime. The US Open has produced funny results in recent years with Cilic winning last season and Juan Martin del Potro taking the title in 2009. Either bet on Djokovic and eat the chalky price, or take a flier with Wawrinka and cheer for chaos.