Roger Federer turned time back by exactly two years to win Cincinnati 2014, his first Masters series since Cincinnati 2012. Perhaps, there is something about the quicker courts in Cincinnati that Federer likes. Perhaps, it is just a coincidence. Either way, Federer seems to be the only one in the top 10 who is in some kind of form going into the US Open.
Other than Federer, the last Masters series before US Open has left us with more questions than answers. What is wrong with Djokovic? How does a player so brilliant on hard courts lose his second match after struggling through his first? How does he do it in back to back masters to boot?
Of course, a player losing form is nothing new, but the extent to which Djokovic has gone off the boil is truly worrying. His record at the US Open is fantastic and reads “final, semi, semi, final, win, final, final” in the last seven years. That record brooks no argument, but unless he gets his act together quickly, this could be the year it is blotted.
Similar questions surround Wawrinka. Is the Australian Open win going to be the highlight of his career? Is he even going to reach another slam final, forget winning one? Anderson and Bennetau are not bad players, but you cannot be losing to them on a regular basis. We have been spoilt by the consistency of champions like Federer, Nadal Djokovic and Murray in the last few years, so it will take a while to get used to a top player who blows hot and cold.Wawrinka made his breakthrough late by tennis standards and doesn’t have many years to add another grandslam to prove that the first one wasn’t a fluke. At this point, it is anybody’s guess whether he can, just as it is anybody’s guess who will upset him in the US Open.
Other than that, the strange aspect of the tournament was the presence of three thirty-plus veterans in the semis. While Federer is obviously an exception, Bennetau was a surprise as was Ferrer to a lesser extent. Tennis continues to see the trend of young players struggling to break through. If the performance of Raonicagainst Federer in the semis is any indication, then the wait could continue for much longer than we thought. Perhaps the US Open will give us a new champion, but if the evidence of the season so far is anything to go by, do not bet on it.