For the Open previews, Tennisense will be skipping ATP/WTA players who have pulled out of the Open, even if they are currently ranked in the Top 10.
Current Ranking: #1
Rafael Nadal is the top seed heading into the U.S Open. The last time he was seeded first here, was seven years ago, back when Denis Shapovalov and Alexander Zverev were still honing their skills in an academy somewhere. It is a testament to the Spaniard’s marvelous year that he’s reclaimed the position with automatically identifies him as the best player on the planet this year.
However, he’s got serious competition if he wants to hold on to that title – we all know who. Rivalries aside, Rafael Nadal hasn’t played like the number one player since reclaiming that title in Cincinnati without even hitting a ball. He was dumped out of the tournament by a resurgent Nick Kyrgios. This, just a week after he was ambushed by another lefty in the form of Denis Shapovalov.
What does that say for his U.S Open chances? Absolutely nothing. At 31, he might not be the same phenom he was in his youthful days but he is still a physical beast. If Nadal sinks his teeth into the tournament i.e. if he avoids being skewered by a big hitter in the first week, then all bets are off. Nadal appears to have a pretty comfortable path to the fourth round. A potential third round clash with Richard Gasquet could be the only mini test the Spaniard has to pass in week one. I believe he will pass that test. After that, it’s one match at a time with Nadal.
He’s my second favorite to win this tournament. His chances will most likely increase if he can navigate his way through to a potential semi final blockbuster with Federer, without being dragged into five setters along the way. Oh, and one more thing
Oh, and one more thing. You better believe Nadal is eager to justify his ranking, not that it needed any justification but the Spaniard loves to let his tennis talk. Don’t expect any less this fortnight.