NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The 2017 US Open tennis tournament is set to start Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.
On Sunday, writer Adam Zagoria of ZAGSBLOG and Metro NY had a preview of what to expect.
As Zagoria noted, Andy Murray will not be in the tournament. He came into the media room on Saturday and said he was pulling out due to a sore hip.
If Murray had withdrawn before the draw on Friday, Roger Federer would have moved from the third seed to the second and a final with Federer and Rafael Nadal might have been a possibility, Zagoria said.
Also out are Novak Djokovic, who was a runner up last year and has won a couple of times before, and Stan Wawrinka, who won the tournament last year.
On the women’s side, the pregnant Serena Williams is out, as is Victoria Azarzenka – who has been to a couple of finals.
But Nadal and Federer will very much be on the court. Nadal won the French Open this year.
“It’s really amazing, right?” Zagoria told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes. “Roger Federer’s 36 years old. Rafael Nadal’s 31. And here they are still at the top of their game; still the two favorites to win the tournament. And the only bummer is that they could meet in the semis, not the finals.”
While Federer is up to take on Nadal, Nadal said he would rather play someone easier, Zagoria said.
Among the dark horses this year are Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, and Grigor Dimitrov. Zagoria said Zverev, of Germany, is “really one of the hottest young rising prospects right now,” having won two tournaments this summer in Washington, D.C., and Montreal.
Zverev could play Cilic, who won the tournament in 2014 in the semis.
Dimitrov won the U.S. Open warm-up tournament in Cincinnati and is sometimes called “Baby Fed,” as his playing style is similar to Federer’s, Zagoria said.
“One of these guys, Zverev or Dimitrov, could break through and win their first grand slam,” Zagoria said.
For the women, Zagoria’s favorite is Garbiñe Muguruza, who won Wimbledon as well as the warmup tournament in Cincinnati.
“Without Serena, it’s kind of wide open,” he said.
There are also several dark horses among the women – including Karolina Plíšková, the No. 1 seed who lost the 2016 US Open Finals to Angelique Kerber. No. 2 seed Simona Halep will play Maria Sharapova, who is a wildcard returning after serving a doping ban.
Also a possible dark horse is Venus Williams, who has also made the finals for Wimbledon and the Australian Open at the age of 37, Zagoria said.
Zagoria also said the best time to go to the US Open is the first week, when you can walk around the outer courts and see several matches at once.