The 2019 US Open will be one that will be remembered as one of the best grand slam tournaments in recent years. There was drama, pain, agony, excitement, upsets and victories.
After two weeks of playing in intense heat and under the lights at Arthur Ashe stadium, two players stood out from the rest.
On the men’s side, Nadal won his fourth title at the Flushing Meadows and his 19th grand slam title after beating Daniel Medvedev in a five-set epic.
On the Women’s side, Bianca Andreescu once again flipped the script to win her maiden grand slam by beating Serena Williams in straight sets.
While they will definitely grab the headlines for their victories, Freshsports.com.ng takes a look at some other talking points from the tournament.
Medvedev Makes A Case For Next Gen: Over the past few years, a lot has been said about how the “Next Gen” have all failed to give the Big three a proper challenge.
The likes of Alexander Zverev, Karen Khachanov, Dominic Thiem and co are obviously talented, but they have all failed to show the consistency the Big three are known for.
And that’s why it is not a coincidence that one of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have won the 50 of the last 58 grand slams. With those three well into their thirties, there have been talks of changing of the guard, but none of the Next Gen players has shown they have the qualities to overthrow these three gods.
However, Medvedev’s performance this summer suggests that we may finally see a change of guard soon. The 23-year-old has won more matches than any other player this year and has already beaten Novak Djokovic twice this year (Cincinnati and Monte Carlo).
In the four hardcourt tournaments he played this summer, Medvedev finished as runner up on three occasions, while he won one.
Also, his performance in the final against Nadal last night suggested that he’s tough mentally which is something the Next Gen guys have been criticised for in the past year. The Russian dragged Nadal to a five-setter after losing the opening two sets.
Medvedev should be proud of his achievements. What a summer he's had. In all the four hard court tournaments he played, he reached the final in three and won one. Incredible stuff. I became a fan when he played Novak at the Aussie Open. #USOpen
— Oluwajoba (@olumcjobson) September 9, 2019
After losing to Nadal, Medvedev admitted it is difficult to overthrow the big three, but hinted it will happen soon. “It’s really tough, because these guys, they are playing good tennis,” Medvedev said.
“I don’t know what else to say. They are just playing amazing tennis.” That changing of the guard? “Were just doing our best to try to make it happen. Sometime.”
Medvedev breaking away from the next gen pack is not something many would have predicted when he played the Next Gen finals back in 2017.
But he is *streets* ahead of anyone else in that age bracket. The mental strength & flexibility of strategy he displayed tonight. Unreal.
— Matthew Willis (@MattRacquet) September 9, 2019
It’s an opinion Nadal also shared, saying the Big three’s dominance will be coming to an end soon. “Sooner rather than later,” Nadal said, prior to the final. “this era is gonna end. We’re arriving to that.”
Although he may have lost eventually, Medvedev’s performance earned him plaudits. If he keeps us this consistency which looks like he will, it won’t be far fetched to say he will be the man to break the slam jinx for the Next Gen group.
Never Rule Out Federer: Although he may have lost in the quarter-finals to Grigor Dimitrov, it will be unwise to say Federer will never win a grand slam title again given how he has always proven his critics’ wrong.
While logic suggests Federer may find it difficult to win a slam again due to his advanced age, precedents have shown that 20-time grand slam winner is one that defies logic.
If there’s anything to learn from the Swiss maestro’s career, it is his ability to bounce back when he has been written off. Aside from that, Federer has shown that he still has the qualities to win slams and his results in all the four majors this year shows that.
The 38-year-old reached the final of the Wimbledon where he held match points against Novak Djokovic. He also reached the semi-finals of the French Open despite not playing on clay for over three years.
Away from the Slams, Federer won titles in Miami, Dubai and Halle which is not bad for a supposedly fading 38-year old. The fact that Federer’s season is seen as a disappointment in some quarters despite his results this year shows he is being held to a different standard to the rest of his peers.
Nevertheless, it will be a premature judgement to say he won’t win a slam again. And with Nadal just within a title of equaling his 20 grand slam haul, the Swiss will not be lacking motivation when he enters into grand slam tournaments next year.
It Is Now A Case Of If And Not When For Serena: Bianca’s Andreescu’s win on Saturday makes it four consecutive slam finals Serena has lost, and one must wonder if Magaret Court has made a deal with a higher power, that her 24 grand slam record wins must not be broken.
It also begs the question if Serena is putting herself under pressure as she attempts to match Court’s haul. It is a known fact that the 38-year-old wants to equal or probably break, but is she starting to feel the pressure mentally?
Since returning from maternity leave, Serena has had the opportunity to equal the record four times, but she is failed to do so on all four occasions.
However, it is the manner of those losses that makes one question if Serena is feeling the pressure. The 23-time grand slam winner has now lost in straight sets in all the slams finals she has played since returning from childbirth.
The 38-year-old will definitely have more opportunities to match the record, but it won’t be an exaggeration if we start asking if, rather than when she will match the record.
Bianca Shows Bouchard How It Is Done: Before Bianca became the darling of Canadian tennis, there was Eugenie Bouchard. Bouchard came to the limelight at the 2014 Wimbledon championships when she became the first Canadian to reach the final of a grand slam.
That same year, she reached a career-high ranking of No 5, and that was expected to be the beginning of bigger things for her. But after suffering a concussion at the 2015 US Open, things went south for the Miami resident.
While the concussion may have played a part in Bouchard’s loss of form, she has also not helped herself with the amount of work she’s put in and her activities off the court.
While Bouchard is more known for her off-court activities, Bianca Andreescu is a stark contrast, and that’s why the 18-year-old is Canada’s first grand slam winner.
Born to Romanian parents who migrated to Canada in the 90s, Bianca has shown Bouchard the way to go as a professional tennis player despite being the younger one.
Prior to this year, the Romanian has only played six tour-level matches, but that is hard to believe with what she has achieved this year. The world took notice of the Canadian when she won the Indian Wells Masters.
Following her victory, she did not play again until the French Open where she retired in the second round. It was then she realized her injury has not healed properly, and that made her miss Wimbledon.
She regrouped for the hardcourt season and it was there her success story continued. Andreescu showed her Indian Wells win was not a fluke by winning the Rogers Cup.
If there were still any lingering doubts after her success in Toronto, her success in New York has cleared that. Following her win at Flushing Meadows, she is now not just famous star in Canada, but a world star.
Will Nadal Break Federer’s Grand Slam Record?: Nadal’s fourth US Open title means the Spaniard is just one shy of Federer’s record of 20 grand slam titles. Since he won his first grand slam in 2005, Nadal has never been this close to Federer. But will he overtake the Swiss in the race for who will win the more grand slams?
this point is now the main thing separating Federer and Nadal in the Grand Slam title standings.
Federer leads by 1. If Nadal wins this point, he might lead by 1.pic.twitter.com/7zSDcO6wxF
— Ricky Dimon (@Dimonator) September 9, 2019
On paper, Nadal should at least match Federer’s record in 2020. Knowing how dominant he is on clay, the 33-year-old is a shoo-in for next year’s French Open. However, winning more slams than Federer depends on the Swiss performance in grand slams too and how long he continues to play.
But with Nadal five years younger than his rival, it will be a huge surprise if he does not end up with more slams than the Swiss. Although one must not forget the third piece in this greatest era- and that’s Novak Djokovic.