The 2016 U.S. Open will start with much more uncertainty than in past years. This is largely due to the presumed favorites coming in with less success than expected.
World no. 1 male Novak Djokovic had a tremendous 2015, winning three of the four major tournaments. He continued this streak in the first half of this year, adding a sixth Australian Open title and first French Open title to his resume. But since lifting the trophy in Paris, he has been in a slump. Djokovic was knocked out of Wimbledon in the third round by American Sam Querrey, an upset no one saw coming. While many expected Djokovic to bounce back and rise as the man to beat at the Rio Olympics, he was sent packing in the first round by Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, the same man who bested him for a bronze medal in 2012.
Rafael Nadal, a two-time U.S. Open winner, is slated to compete in New York, however his health has also been a factor. The Spaniard was forced to withdraw from both the French Open and Wimbledon, citing a wrist injury. Despite convincing performances in Rio, Nadal admitted to still not being 100 percent healthy in the wrist, causing many to wonder what his chances are of winning the final Grand Slam of the year.
17-time Major champ Roger Federer will be absent from the tournament for the first time in his career. Following his Wimbledon semifinal loss to Milos Raonic, the 35-year-old announced that he would be taking the remainder of the season off to recover from a knee injury he suffered earlier in the year.
The favorite female, Serena Williams, is also in the midst of a similar slump. She won her seventh Wimbledon title last month (her 22nd major title overall), but had a disappointing showing in Rio, failing to medal in both singles and doubles, both of which she won gold in four years ago. She comes into the U.S. Open as the world no. 1 and top seed in the tournament, but with her recent performance and quiet threats like Garbine Mugaruza, surprise gold medal winner Monica Puig , and her older sister Venus Williams all in the mix, it could be anyone’s game.
The U.S. Open runs Aug. 29 – Sept. 11.