The final Grand Slam of the year is as open as ever
The new promo on TV shows a furry yellow tennis ball cut into the shape of an Apple. The US Grand Slam is here at the big Apple, the name New Yorkers call their city.
Every Slam has its own glam. 30-40 may be a tantalizingly poised game score but it could also mean the temperature inside Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena which the players have to beat in addition to their opponents. Australian Open has its challenges and charms. Melbourne’s tag as the most live-able city in the world, its lovely Yarra waterfront, the hot pot of multicultural people and the famed oz outdoor way of life makes the Australian Open the most relaxed and most fun for the players and the tennis fans.
The red clay of Paris, perhaps, is the most appealing to the eye when you watch it on TV. The rust red somehow beats the blue courts of most ATP tournaments. It is also the historic nemesis of some of the best players in tennis who win them all only to be laid low in Roland Garros. The list is long, of players who have three of the Slams, but the French Open. Edberg, McEnroe, ‘Pistol’ Pete Sampras did not fire here, and for boom boom Becker it was doom at this tough, slow, baseliners paradise.
And then, as the umpires say, it is ‘Time’ for the most followed, celebrity saturated, and unbelievably green turf of Wimbledon. Snobbery and strawberry are both the flavours of the unofficial world championships of tennis. From the measured applauses, to the uncompromising traditions (sorry boys and girls…only whites allowed) to a lone spectator sitting with an umbrella for the heavens to stop and the interrupted games to go on to the ‘Quiet Please’ everything is very proper, very British and very stiff including the price ticket which is as hard to come by as a British winner at The Championships.
And then we have all out commercial razzmatazz of the US Open. It is now upon us, kicking off or being served up for the tennis fans from 31st August and lasting for the full two weeks that makes for a Grand Slam. Flushing Meadows is where it will happen. Marin Cilic is the defending Champion, Kei Nishikori the runner up, but in his own words, he was overwhelmed by the very thought of being in a Slam and the 2014 US Open finals was a match, which was for both Cilic and Nishikori one of now or nerves!
And this year is perhaps the toughest of all, where anyone can beat everyone. Everyone wants to win it. Many of them have won something or the other in the past six months and everyone has made life scary for the top 10 players where, if not beating them outright then at least showing the world that these top guns have been in one hell of fight in tournament after tournament.
No way is it going to be easy for Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer continues to come tantalizingly close into netting a Slam. Nadal increasingly resembles the Spanish economy with its prolonged slump and Andy Murray continues to give the punters hard thoughts.
It will be interesting to watch the US Open this year. It is very open this year.