Hard (court) decisions – Abdominal tears and unvaccinated travel are among the many questions for tennis ahead of the US Open

LONDON — The tennis tour is leaving the grass courts for the hard courts.

Before we know it, players will be arriving in New York for the US Open, which is scheduled to run from August 29th to September 11th.

But in what condition will they get there? And who will be there? At this very early stage – and we know it’s far too early to be sure about anything – all we know is that uncertainty reigns.

Will Rafael Nadal, who retired with a stomach tear ahead of his Wimbledon semi-final, be fit to claim a third Grand Slam title of the year and 23rd overall? Will Novak Djokovic, who won his seventh Wimbledon title and 21st Grand Slam, be allowed into the country? Is Serena Williams continuing her comeback? Will Iga Swiatek reassert her authority at the pinnacle of women’s football? Or is new Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina ready to win another Slam right after her first?


breakdown of men

With Roger Federer only testing his comeback at the Laver Cup in September, the biggest questions for the men concern the big two.

At the time of writing, Djokovic is unable to enter the United States because he has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, a requirement for entry into the country.

“I don’t think an exemption is realistically possible,” said Djokovic. “I think it’s just a matter of if they remove that in time for me to come to the US.”

That opens the door again for Nadal, who took full advantage of his rival’s absence in Australia and then defeated Djokovic on his way to the French Open title.

Nadal, a slam ahead of Djokovic on the all-time list, is hoping to be back on the pitch within a week, although his abdominal tear will not allow him to serve for the immediate future.

“It will take about between three, four weeks, which is normal for this type of injury,” Nadal said. “I hope these three, four weeks will allow me to do my regular calendar. In a week I have [am] can play from the baseline. Of course not serve for a while. Somehow it’s positive that I [am] I will continue to be able to practice from the baseline.”

One man who will be there when fitness allows is defending champion Daniil Medvedev, who is back after being ruled out of Wimbledon over the ban on Russians and Belarusians over the invasion of Ukraine. And what will Nick Kyrgios be capable of after his stunning run at Wimbledon?


collapse of women

The women’s is will she/won’t she for Williams, who returned to the tour after a year’s hiatus at Wimbledon only to lose in the first round.

Williams is non-committal about her future and certainly won’t want her loss to Harmony Tan of France to be her last Grand Slam match. Williams admitted she likely needs more match practice if she wants to get deep into a Slam event again. So keep an eye out for the warm-up tournaments to see if her name pops up.

Swiatek took a much-needed – and well-deserved – break after losing early at Wimbledon after 37 straight wins spanned over six tournaments and included a second French Open title.

The Pole will again be a major threat on hard courts, just as she was earlier this year in wins in Indian Wells and Miami; but she has yet to make it past the fourth round in New York in three appearances.

Rybakina will carry Wimbledon champion confidence into the hard court season and her coach Stefano Vukov believes she is capable of winning on any surface.

“I think her game is made for grass, but she’s very versatile,” said Vukov. “The first WTA we won together was on clay, the second was hard in Hobart. Finals in Dubai on hard court, quarterfinals at the French Open, she won Wimbledon and quite a few finals at hard court events. There isn’t really a surface she can’t use.”

And British player Emma Raducanu will be back to defend the title she surprisingly won 12 months ago after losing in the second round at Wimbledon.

“Going back to New York is going to be cool because I’ve had a lot of experience playing on big courts, playing with people in the stadium and playing in the spotlight,” Raducanu said. “I do not mind.”

https://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/id/34222475/hard-court-decisions-abdominal-tears-unvaccinated-travel-many-questions-tennis-ahead-us-open Hard (court) decisions – Abdominal tears and unvaccinated travel are among the many questions for tennis ahead of the US Open

Emma Bowman

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