2011 is a year that very much belongs to Novak Djokovic so far, with the Serb having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon to take his Grand Slam tally to three, although the world number one comes into the US Open with an injury.
Djokovic had to retire in the final of the ATP Cincinnati tournament with a shoulder problem and it is not exactly clear whether he will be 100% at Flushing Meadows, although the bookmakers still have him as strong favourite to continue his dominance in the men’s game.
The best price available about the 24-year-old is 11/8 (bet365 – £200 free bets) and it is clear that he has the best hard court game out of the world’s top players. His demolition of Andy Murray in Australia at the start of the year suggests that if he’s fit, then he will win.
Even so, Murray is in form coming into a tournament that has seen him go close in recent years, with the Brit reaching the final in 2008 while he has also reached the past two finals in Melbourne which is played on a similar surface. John McEnroe rates this coming Slam as Murray’s best chance of major success and he can be backed at 5/1 (William Hill – £25 free bet).
In the other half of the draw, Rafael Nadal is thinking of ways to beat Novak Djokovic after losing yet again to the Serb in the Wimbledon final and it is clear that the Spaniard struggles to cope with his opponent as can be seen by a 0-5 head-to head record.
Even so, the reigning US Open champion has a French Open success under his belt this year and can’t be discounted at 9/2 (Victor Chandler), “When you come back after the victory of last year the emotions are higher,” Nadal said. “Of course, it was the last Grand Slam for me to complete all four, was one of the biggest moments of my career. That makes the comeback a little more special”.
Nadal does have a hand injury after a freak restaurant accident, although it should be healed should the world number two reach the later stages.
Then there is Roger Federer, the 16-time Grand Slam winner who faces a potential banana skin against Bernard Tomic in the third round, although the world number three can be backed at 6/1 (Paddy Power) to claim victory and he claims to be hungrier than ever.
Juan Martin Del Potro (16/1 bet365) also can’t be discounted after winning this tournament two years ago and the Argentine seems to thrive on the hard courts in New York.