The 2012 US Open is nearly here, but will you be watching? In my opinion there are a multitude of reasons to be watching the Open. Here are 10 reasons why the US Open is "must-watch" TV.
1. Can Serena continue to roll this summer? After winning Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal, Williams is positioned to pull off one of the most impressive runs in recent history. Serena has been dominant, but she is a fiery competitor and must maintain control better than she did in the last two Opens. Can Serena control her anger and emotions if things are not going her way? Should be interesting to watch.
2. The Top 3 players in the Open draw are battling for supremacy over the 2012 season. With Nadal out, both Djokovic and Federer are posed to win two majors in 2012. If one of these champions is able to win seven matches he will likely secure the #1 ranking for the year as well. Meanwhile, it would be possible for Andy Murray to make a claim for having the best 2012 if he were to win his first Slam at Flushing Meadows. It will make for high drama on the final weekend.
3. Outside of the Top 3 in the draw who is most likely to make a run and win his first Open? I personally feel that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the player that could finally breakthrough. However, he must avoid periods of time where he loses his focus and stay locked in for two weeks. Tsonga is capable of winning the Open but he must believe in his game in the big matches for for 4-5 hours. That is what it is going to take to beat Djokovic, Federer, or Murray.
4. On the women's side, Victoria Azarenka was positively dominant the first several months of the season. However, with the resurgence of Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, the Australian Open winner has been kind of forgotten. Can Azarenka lay claim to being the best women's player in 2012? A win over Sharapova or Serena would prove once and for all that Azarenka is #1 and potentially the next great champion on the WTA Tour.
5. Is this John Isner's time? To me Isner has big enough game to win a Slam and it could happen now. Isner beat Federer in Davis Cup in Switzerland and is always dangerous. With a huge serve and great tiebreak record Isner is capable of serving his way in to the Final and winning it all.
6. American tennis has a lot to watch when it comes to young, talented female players in the draw. Last year American woman jumped in to the spotlight and this year I expect they could do well again. Christina McHale is a consistent player on the WTA tour and Sloane Stephens is showing signs of making a breakthrough. Look for young players like Irina Falconi and Nicole Gibbs. They could make some noise in the first week of the Open. But, just how far can they go?
7. During the Open there are two times of the day that I enjoy most. During the late afternoon/early evening you often will find matches deep in the final set. There is a buzz around the grounds as fans are moving to outer courts to catch the end of these marathons. Throw in the shadows and oncoming darkness and there is an air of intensity, especially on the Grandstand. The second, more obvious time, is night tennis. Some of the most memorable and prolific matches have happened at night in New York. Few matches have surpassed the drama of Agassi-Baghadatis in Agassi's final open. Or the special quarterfinals Andre played against Sampras and Blake at night. There is usually at least one late night that goes five sets. I am hoping there are four or five of those nights!
8. My players to watch who also my dark horses on the Men's side are Juan Martin Del Potro and Milos Raonic. Del Po is playing excellent tennis, but his wrist seemed questionable in Cincinnati. He is capable of beating any one on the tour and won his only Slam here 3 years ago. Raonic, like Isner, can hold his own against the top players with his huge serve but he needs to be more consistent. These are two guys to watch because they could win seven straight in New York.
9. Six courts of tennis on Directv on the big screen in the man cave. What more do I need to say!
10. It is the last Slam of 2012. Most of the big questions will be answered in the next 2 weeks. History will be made. Make sure you are watching.
Come back to the Tennis Mental Edge blog for more analysis throughout the 2012 US Open.