We are in a lull in the tennis calendar. The memories of Wimbledon are fading into history and preparation for the US Open is gradually coming together. The Men’s side of the draw has a different look to it, though, with a few of the sport’s biggest names set to miss the tournament.
In a talented field, we take a look at FIVE of the contenders to win the final Slam of the year…
The big-serving Canadian is as close as it gets to a hard court specialist, despite making the Wimbledon final in 2016. With Novak Djokovic – whom he has never beaten – ruled out of the tournament, Raonic will see the US Open as one of his best chances yet at a Slam.
That chance is respected by the odds, having him as fourth favourite, but still way out at 25/1. His ‘Big Four’ record leaves plenty to be desired, having won a mere 20% of his matches against the dominant quartet.
Raonic’s all-action game makes him a threat to any player in the draw, but finding the consistency – along with the mentality to beat the biggest names – to go all the way remains the question for the Canadian to answer.
The great 31-year-old Spaniard has defied the odds to return to the top of the tennis world. His French Open victory this year was vintage Nadal, but he has not lifted a Slam outside of France since the 2013 US Open.
Nadal has won three hard court Slams and was runner-up at the Australian Open earlier this season. His brilliance needs no more explanation, but question marks surely still linger over his fitness after his shock fourth round exit at Wimbledon.
At second favourite at 5/2 to win in New York, Nadal is worth consideration as he bids to truly complete his comeback. Injury to Djokovic – although the Serbian is far from his best – helps Nadal, too.
The stars will align at some point and Nick Kyrgios’ talent will breakout in a dramatic way. That’s the hope of the tennis watching world, at least, but his temperament still leaves plenty to be desired and whether he will have the consistency to perform over a Grand Slam fortnight is a complete unknown.
His 25/1 odds are hardly a surprise. Kyrgios has made the quarters of a Slam only twice, and not made it past the second round of a Slam so far this year. That said, though, the odds reflect his talent and give him a realistic chance of competing late into the second week.
The French world number 12 has made only a solitary Grand Slam final, which was back in 2008 and ended in defeat to Novak Djokovic. His career has seen most success on the hard courts – including the Australian Open final against Djokovic – and his immensely aggressive play always makes him a dangerous player to face.
Tsonga is a great watch, but his inconsistencies and underwhelming Slam results in the last two seasons justify his 66/1 price.
For a longshot price on the US Open, though, Tsonga is one of the best options. The talent is there, and a hot streak could see a lot of people make a lot of money on this enigmatic big-serving Frenchman.
Last but not least it’s the favourite for the tournament and five-time US Open champion. Federer has won two of the three Slams this year and was utterly unstoppable at Wimbledon.
His 7/5 price might seem extremely short for a player of his age who has not won at Flushing Meadows since 2008, but Federer in full flow on a hard court is a tough man to bet against. An adoring New York crowd will be vocal in their support for the elegant Swiss, and fitness is of no concern as preparation begins.
The value is not with Federer in the Big Apple, but it’s his brilliance that lengthens the odds of everyone else.