Top story lines at the U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is only a few days away, and I cannot wait. It’s my hands down favorite Grand Slam of the year. Why? Maybe because it’s on U.S. soil, maybe because I don’t have to wake up at 4 am to watch the matches or maybe because it’s the only Slam I’ve actually attended in person. Or maybe it’s all three reasons. We like to get pumped up for these Slams by making our picks in our Tourneytopia Racquet Bracket (which you can sign up here for men and here for women). And once our picks are in, we like to do a little trash talking and friendly betting. Now I cannot fully disclose what these bets entail, but let’s just say it rhymes with nappy hour.

This year, I think there are two major storylines for both the ATP and WTA. On the ATP side, the most obvious headliner is that Rafael Nadal will not be playing because of knee issues. Which, as a Nadal fan, is very worrisome for his future, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog.

Murray and Federer should be the favorites to win the U.S. Open title.

I think the other big story is going to be Federer and Murray. No disrespect to Djokovic, but he’s been put on the back burner because of the outstanding play from the ageless Federer and from Andy “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride” Murray. Federer has been playing like the Federer of old the past few weeks, save the Olympic finals, and looks like this could be his best chance to win another Major because his nemesis is sidelined with a knee injury. And for Murray, this could be his best chance to win his first Major. Here’s why: He’s riding high from his Olympic gold medal, Djokovic is not nearly playing as well as he did last year and Murray won’t have the pressure of an entire nation on his shoulders. Which is a lot of weight considering the United Kingdom has a population of 60 million people at an average weight of 156 pounds. That equals to 9.36 trillion pounds! Sorry for the math tangent.

On the WTA side, we say goodbye to one of the great ambassadors of the sport, a truly great champion and human being, Kim Clijsters. After 41 WTA singles titles and 4 Grand Slams, Kim is walking away from the game a second time.

Kim Clijsters at the 2010 U.S. Open

And at the ripe old age of 29 (yes, that was sarcastic), this time is the last time. Can she retire on top with a U.S. Open title? There is one big obstacle standing in her way, which brings us to…..

The second major headliner? One word: Serena. Is there a more heavily favored No. 4 seed in the history of women’s tennis? Me thinks not. It seems like all the top players have been on the receiving end of Serena’s wrath lately. Just look at the Olympics. She rolled through Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-2 and then shellacking Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1. There’s nothing scarier than a healthy and motivated Serena. And believe you me, nothing motivates Serena like Grand Slams.

Serena holding up her 2012 Wimbledon trophy. Who's stopping her at the U.S. Open?

Be sure to check out more U.S. Open previews and blogs from Andy and Siobhan in the upcoming days.

Enjoy the Open!

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