New York and another reason to be the city that never sleeps: The US Open kicks off, with Serena’s final dance, five No. 1 contenders and some Argentines

NEW YORK.- The streets of Manhattan know no rest. Bustling, always; in motion, in action. The traditional steam from the drains, the lights, the corners, the offers from shops and tourists, exhibitions, the latest fashion, fast food and fine restaurants, taxis leaving yellow trails, the parks and the cement, the crossing of languages. and culture, religion, the endless skyscrapers that cause stiff necks, the post-pandemic economy and the wave of migration that monopolizes space on the front pages of the newspapers. Great and Chaotic, New York. Also, from this Monday until September 11 (a sensitive date for this city), it will be a venue for The US Open, the last major tennis tournament of the season -yet- about adjustment for tournaments and players, which has Novak Djokovic as the only “out of the system”.

Rafael Nadal, training in New YorkJULIAN FINNEY – GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

With no intention of getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and deported from Melbourne last January, the Serb does not have permission to enter the US (a health rule for foreign visitors) and will represent a notable absence at Flushing Meadows. Winner of his 21st trophy major at Wimbledon he will not be able to claim equality for the Spanish record Rafael Nadal (22). “Personally, I feel sorry for him. [Djokovic] that I can’t travel here. It’s always a shame when the best players in the world can’t play due to injury or other reasons. I repeat something I have said many times: Sports is bigger than any player,” said Nadal, who is second (after the Russian). Daniel Medvedevtitle to defend) and his image is the one that is most visible in the promotions that the US Open does on the streets of Manhattan (with the message “Awesome Awaits”), about 20 kilometers from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the magnificent complex of the competition, in Corona Park, in the borough of Queens.

The show starts at the US Open:

The battle for the ranking lead It’s one of the most exciting focuses this edition of the US Open will have. Without German Alexander Zverev in action (2nd; he did not recover from the serious ankle injury he suffered at Roland Garros), Medvedev, Nadal (he has not defended a point since last year, injured, he did not play at Flushing Meadows) and his Country Carlos Alcaraz (4th in the world), the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th) and the Norwegian Casper Ruud (7th) have a chance to finish the major at the top. If Nadal reaches the semi-finals, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Alcaraz or Ruud will have to win the title to prevent the Mallorcan from regaining the No. 1 ranking (the week of January 20, 2020 was his last as leader).

$60 million will be distributed by the US Open among the players. Two individual title winners will pocket a check of US$2,600,000. For the first unique round, the prize is 80,000. The pair who win the doubles match will win $688,000.

Rafa, 36, will be seeking his fifth US Open title, his first since 2019. With a 19-0 record at majors on the year (titles in Australia and Paris), he was unable to appear in the Wimbledon semifinals due to an abdominal injury and in his only match since then, on August 17 in Montreal, he lost to Croatian Borna Coric. The last male tennis player to win the Australian Open, Roland Garros and US Open in the same year was Mats Wilander (in 1988). At practice on Friday at Rafa had a scare when he hit his left knee on a billboard, but managed to proceed with the trial.

Russia's Daniil Medvedev, defending US Open champion, looks to focus in training in New York
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, defending US Open champion, looks to focus in training in New YorkSarah Stier – GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

What else can be appreciated among men? Medvedev, who last year denied Djokovic the “calendar championship” by defeating him in the final, will attempt to become the first player to repeat the title in New York since Roger Federer (another great absence) he won five titles in a row between 2004 and 2008 (in 2009 he was stopped by Juan Martín del Potro). The tenth seed Taylor Fritzis the best hope of the 21 Americans hoping to end a drought of local titles in the Big Apple: Andy Roddick, in 2003, was the last American to celebrate, defeating Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero (today, Alcaraz’s coach) in the final and David Nalbandian in the semi-finals.

The three biggest hardcourt tournaments on the North American tour between Wimbledon and the US Open were won by unseeded players: Australian Nick Kyrgios in Washington (ATP 500), Spaniard Pablo Carreño Busta in Montreal (Masters 1000) and Coric in Cincinnati. (Masters 1000). The three of them will undoubtedly be rivals that no one will want to face (Kyrgios, moreover, will be encouraged after playing in his first major final, at Wimbledon).

High temperature is in New York;  The US Open Kids' Day set an attendance record, with 35,525 children and families attending the complex
High temperature is in New York; The US Open Kids’ Day set an attendance record, with 35,525 children and families attending the complex KENA BETANCUR – AFP

Argentina, with eight, is the fifth country with the most players in main draw male, followed by 21 local representatives, twelve from Spain and ten from Australia and France. Diego Schwartzman (14th place), Francisco Cerúndolo (24th), Sebastián Báez, Pedro Cachin, Federico Coria, Tomás Etcheverry, Facundo Bagnis and Federico Delbonis, the last two to conquer the classification, will try to get to the cement in New York . Rosario Nadia Podoroska, ranked 212th, but playing with the benefit of the protected position after her long inactivity, will be the only provincial among the women.

Diego Schwartzman, the best Argentine on the leaderboard
Diego Schwartzman, the best Argentine on the leaderboardMATTHEW STOCKMAN – GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

Serena Williams’ last dance

This US Open will be historic. Serena Williams, twenty-three times Grand Slam champion, will play his last tournament (her rival, on Monday at Arthur Ashe, 20 in Argentina, will be Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, 80). Serena, who turns 41 on September 26, beat Nicole Pratt (Australia) in her career debut at Flushing Meadows in 1998 and added another 105 in the tournament. The first of his six New York titles came when he was 17, in 1999. He also has 365 major league wins, a record second only to his sister Venus’ 271.

The Williamses will liven up the party, at least for the first few days. Venus, who holds the record for most US Open singles wins in an Open season (with 23, two more than Serena; including this tournament) will play in singles and doubles, obviously with Serena (they will have a wild card).

Last year, Britain Emma Raducanu she became the first unranked player (male or female) to win a Grand Slam in the Open era. Raducanu, who is ranked 11th in the WTA rankings, faces the challenge of having to defend many points to avoid a sudden drop in the rankings. Her debut rival will be France’s Alizé Cornet (40th; 32), who will set the women’s record for most consecutive major draws: 63, surpassing Japan’s Ai Sugiyama’s 62.

The freshness of the British Emma Raducana, the last champion at the US Open
The freshness of the British Emma Raducana, the last champion at the US OpenJULIAN FINNEY – GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA

We also have to take into account Simona Halep, the current 7th seed, who won 19 of her last 22 matches (she was the champion in Toronto). The Romanian, the former leader of the rankings, already knows what it means to be crowned in a major (In fact, he did so at Roland Garros 2018 and at Wimbledon 2019, as well as making three other finals).

The third big group in a row I Swiatek ranked first in the world. The 21-year-old Pole rose to the top of the rankings on April 4, following Ashleigh Barty’s surprise retirement, and took charge by force. His season was highlighted by a 37-match winning streak, the longest on tour in 32 seasons, which finally ended against Cornet in the third round at Wimbledon (his performances have since declined). These two weeks will be Swiatek’s 22nd and 23rd weeks at No. 1, where he will remain after the conclusion of the US Open, regardless of what happens.

The Polish Iga Swiatek, number 1 in the world, in New York
The Polish Iga Swiatek, number 1 in the world, in New YorkRobert Prange – Getty Images North America

Coco Gauff, who is almost 18 years old, has broken into the top 10 with a bang (she is ranked 12th in singles and 1st in doubles). Coached by Argentinian Diego Moyano and a finalist at the last Roland Garros, the American is forging his own path, but appears to be chosen to take over the limelight Williams will vacate. If you manage to master the pressure, it’s too dangerous.

“New York is a city of unseen things. It’s a city of cats that snooze under parked cars, two-stone armadillos that climb St. Patrick’s Cathedral and thousands of ants crawling across the roof of the Empire State Building…” Gay Talese once wrote. Of course, unlike that chronicle of one of the masters of the so-called New Journalism, no one who succeeds at the US Open is left out. Raising your arms in front of 25,000 people at Arthur Ashe Stadium means that people (athletes) are never the same again. And there are plenty of examples.

Argentina’s Monday schedule:

Tuesday’s schedule for the Argentines:

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