This US Open has been weird, so many declare. The number of big name withdrawals decimated mainly the bottom half of the draw and the way things worked out fans got one day with star power names and the next day where they were left feeling short changed.
It was frustrating but there is nothing that can be done about it. There are no guarantees as to what player is where and playing on which day.
Certainly, this US Open was affected by the withdrawals of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Serena Williams (well she hasn’t played since the start of the year for obvious reasons) and others, but fans could have been in a similar situation had there been upsets.
And then Djokovic could have started but then withdrawn mid-tournament because of the birth of his second child and him wanting to be with his wife Jelena.
There is another way to look at the situation and that is to “discover” other names, players who might not have necessarily made the viewing cut had those big names been around. Sure, you want to see the household names in action, rather than the players trying to find a household in which to attach their names but that’s the way it goes sometimes and you try to make the best of it by embracing the non-household names.
They are all amazing players; you don’t get to the second week of a major, or for that matter into the main draw period without having the results through the year, without playing amazing tennis and maybe it is time to start appreciating other players a whole lot more. The likes of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are not going to be around forever.
One revelation has been the attention the so-called NextGen players have received. Things could not have landed better for the ATP’s promotion of the young players, the ones that will carry the baton in the years ahead – Frances Tiafoe who played Federer in the first round, Denis Shapovalov, Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev.
It is exciting to see the development of the players.
You can go ho-hum with the bottom half of the men’s quarters that was made up of Sam Querrey playing Kevin Anderson and Pablo Carreno Busta facing Diego Schwartzman or you can celebrate that the US Open final will be embracing a first-time finalist at a major.
Sure, they would be the underdog if they come up against Federer or Nadal or possibly even Juan Martin Del Potro but who says any of those guys will be in the final, Stranger things have happened – remember the four majors produce the most unexpected results.
While the likes of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray carry world tennis, the sport is bigger than the sum of them and there are others out there that need to be watched closely.