The US Open is the grand slam I can never get into as much as the others, mainly due to the fact that the Eurosport coverage isn’t as all-encompassing as it is for the Australian or Roland Garros, as well as Wimbledon on the BBC. Those events, especially Wimbledon are covered so well that you feel like it draws you in completely for those two weeks. It could also be partly to do with the fact that this is the final grand slam of the very long and tiresome tennis season. It’s harder to be excited at this time of year.
However, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to see as much of the tournament than I’d have liked to, I still caught enough and stayed up to date with all of the main stories of the fortnight, and there were a lot of highlights.
It started with lots of shocks, including Murray who, as I predicted, had a tough time with Stanislas Wawrinka and eventually lost that match in the third round. A notable match I enjoyed was the all-spanish encounter between Fernando Verdasco and David Ferrer in the 4th round. It was one of those with twists and turns constantly. They both kept having fluctuating levels of play and the 5th set was a spectacle. It looked as if Verdasco had given up almost, before he came roaring back to win with some incredible shots. There’s always an epic 5 set match to really get me drawn more into a tournament, and this is the one I’ll take away from this year’s US Open.
As far as the late stages go, I was happy to see players like Mikhail Youzhny get a share of the limelight for once, and actually put up a good performance in the semi’s to Nadal, who no one expected to be troubled. Novak Djokovic also played well and actually looked like a player deserving of his number 3 seeding. The end of his match against Federer was a demonstration of how mental strength and never giving up can get you everywhere in tennis. It looked as if he was hanging on by a thread but managed to break Federer’s after narrowly holding his own under immense pressure saving two match points.
The final was one step too far for Djokovic though, especially with how well Nadal is playing, but he did put up a decent fight and took a set off Rafa, which isn’t too bad going.
On the Women’s side, there’s not really as much to say as the draw is quite wide open from the beginning. It was nice to see Vera Zvonareva get to another final, although she also lost another one. This time to a very worthy and likeable champion, Kim Clijsters who seems to somehow be able to produce her best at this tournament. She said something poignant in how she told Vera to not be downhearted because of these losses, as it took her a long time to win her first grand slam. It’s definitely a good message to send out, that it’s never too late to achieve great success.
Overall I think it was a pretty historic US Open. Rafael Nadal now has a career grand slam, Kim Clijsters has cemented her dominance of the US Open and proven it wasn’t just a lucky one off last year, and we’ve seen many great matches. I can’t wait for the end of year championships and the Australian Open 2011 now.