You get the impression that Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have been doing little more than killing time between Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows.
Murray has lost his number two ranking to the continued resurgence of Rafael Nadal, who won his first-ever Cincinnati Masters last week. But he took an unprecedented holiday after his historic victory in SW19 and hasn’t rushed his preparation for the US Open. Admittedly, his straight-sets defeat by Tomas Berdych in Cincinnati was disappointing but not entirely unexpected as everything is being geared up to defending his title in New York.
Murray admits that it was a great relief to win his first Slam at last year’s US Open and a huge pressure was taken off his shoulders by his victory over Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon. The fact that he’s had relatively few matches lately could well be an advantage in New York, where sweltering heat is often a factor. The five-set format certainly suits the Scot as he can be a slow starter, especially in the early rounds, and he’s among the fittest men on the ATP Tour, so the 29/10 with unibet will be tempting for many.
Djokovic is a general 15/8 and will be determined to go one better than last year having won at Flushing Meadows in 2011. The Serb beat Murray in the Australian Open Final earlier this year and also reached the French Open Final before losing to Nadal. His record in Slams speaks for itself and whoever beats him will probably be champion.
Nadal’s form this year following injury has been a revelation as there were a few doubting his ability to come back. He was very impressive in Cincinnati, especially his serving, but the nagging doubt remains about how his troublesome knees will cope with long matches on hardcourt and the 11/4 with betway and Paddy Power looks about right.
They say you can never write off Roger Federer but he was blown away by Nadal in Cincinnati and is only seeded seven in New York. That means he’s due to meet the Spaniard again in the quarter-finals and, having made no impression in Slams this year, the writing may finally be on the wall for the Swiss against his younger rivals. He is 16/1 with sportingbet and it speaks volumes that he’s now a much bigger price than Juan Del Potro (a general 10/1), who won the US Open in 2009 and has the ability to trouble the big three if they are fractionally below par. Murray may be the bet again, however, and it would be no shock were it to be Djokovic facing him across the net in the final. Incidentally, Boylesports and Ladbrokes both have money back offers available if Murray wins the tournament.