The Reuters global sports blog
Rusedski makes his US Open picks
The Toronto Masters Series has been very interesting this year for so many reasons. David Nalbandian will be a dark horse for the US open and none of the top men will want to play him. Andy Murray looked impressive all week serving well and taking the ball early using the width on the court and hitting his forehand well. He looks in the form that took him to the Australian Open final at the beginning of the year. Murray was sensational in the quarter-final against Nalbandian and even better against Rafael Nadal in the semis.
Roger Federer, on the other hand, was building up his form nicely this week. His first big match was against Tomas Berdych in the quarters, it was a rematch of the Wimbledon quarter-final. Federer won, 7-6 in the third. This is a very important time for Federer, he needs to get back to his winning ways and this surface probably is best as the court gives him a little extra zip, because of the heat and the speed of the ball. He is also making a fashion statement this week, wearing pink and so is Nadal. Not sure on the pink?!
Federer earned back his world no. 2 ranking after his win against Novak Djokovic so we ended up with the same final that we had at the Australian Open. Federer was jaded after back-to-back three set matches going into the final. Murray won against Federer in the final to defend his title but did not play as well as he did in the last two matches. He started well but he had periods where he was too passive. He got the job done and won his first title of the year which will give him lots of confidence. He is the first man since Andre Agassi in 1995 to win back-to-back Canadian Open titles. If he is going to win the US Open he needs to continue to play like he did against Nadal and Nalbandian this week. He cannot afford to have passive periods like he did in the Toronto final against Federer.
Federer is my slight favorite for the US Open and he will only get better each week before the US Open starts. By working with Paul Annacone we can see improvements in his game. Federer is becoming more aggressive in coming forward which is a positive sign. Nadal will also get better on the hard court each week and will peak perfectly before the US Open. Murray is back in the mix again to win a slam, the confidence is back and his tennis is returning to where it should be. What a great week of tennis!
I, myself, was back on the Champions Tour this past week in Portugal at Vale de Lobo where I was the defending champion. I haven’t played this year on the Champions Tour so far as I hurt my knee at Wimbledon in the Veterans Doubles so I was concerned about playing and how I would hold up. I surprised myself, I played very well beating Henri Leconte in 6-3 6-2 and then Portuguese star Nuno Marques 6-2 6-1. I was in the semis playing Thomas Enqvist who is No. 1 in the Champions Tour, I lost 6-7 6-3 15-13. I had one match point but couldn’t take my chances. It was great to be back on court in a relaxed atmosphere with all the past champions. I couldn’t defend the title but I had a lot of fun and was thrilled that the body held up!
I’ve also been working with Oliver Golding, the 16-year-old who reached the Junior semi-finals at Wimbledon. He is having a good week at the Junior Olympics, having beaten world no. 1 junior Marton Fucsovics from Hungary 7-5 6-3. Some really encouraging signs from the up and coming players.