Of all the storylines in sport right now, none are more significant than the one about Serena Williams and her historic quest to complete the first Calendar Grand Slam of her career.
Enjoying the vibe and energy is a crucial factor in the US Open, and it’s something that Novak Djokovic really enjoys here.
He has the most hard draw of the three because he will meet un-seeded Australian Nick Kyrgios in the first round and possibly French Open champion and fifth seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.
Yet no one has succeeded in derailing her grand slam charge.
“It’s pretty remarkable”, said former player and U.S. Fed Cup coach Mary Joe Fernandez, who like McEnroe and Shriver serve as commentators for U.S. Open broadcaster ESPN. “I just wasn’t 100 percent today, and to beat Lucie or even compete against her, you need to be 100 percent”.
American Sloane Stephens could be there for the third round, and big-serving compatriot Madison Keys or Poland’s Urszula Radwanska may be waiting in the fourth round. She put the ladies on top.
Williams has been invincible yet has seemed beatable during this late career surge.
“You sort of need a Bencic (type) that goes out there bold and courageous, loving the moment and playing Serena“, Fernandez told Reuters.
Russian third seed Maria Sharapova, Danish fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki and 2012 and 2013 US Open runner-up Victoria Azarenka of Belarus all have leg injuries. “If I decide to play right, it’ll be great”.
Fernandez said injuries and illnesses suffered by Williams, who exploded on the worldwide stage with her 1999 U.S. Open triumph at age 17, have actually helped keep her fresh. “I hope she can win it. “Romanian second seed Simona Halep, who lost to Williams in the Cincinnati final, said the same thing, but qualified her support to say she wants to see it only if she isn’t the final obstacle in Serena’s path”.
For the first time in US Open history, the women’s final sold out before the men’s. “I feel like I’m well prepared for New York“.
Williams, with no clear rival in sight, has won 28 grand slam matches in a row, 21 consecutive contests at the U.S. Open and 44 in a row on U.S. hardcourts.
In the end, Serena’s toughest enemy might be herself and her mental ability to handle trouble during matches.
Nadal has had a rough year, thanks to fitness issues and is on a collision course with Novak once again, as they are scheduled to play a quarter-final.
Williams will play the first night match at Arthur Ashe Stadium after opening ceremonies against Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko.
However, they last faced each other in the second round at Wimbledon in 1998.
Djokovic repelled Federer in the Wimbledon final, but there’s a new buzz for the Swiss Maestro because of his revenge win over the Serbian earlier this month in suburban Cincinnati at the Western & Southern Open final. “If I step out on the court and I’m a little nervous or I’m fearful, then that’s never a really good sign”.