With the Wimbledon done and its craze dusted, the attention of the tennis world has now turned to the final grand slam of the year, in spite of it being two months away. The question naturally arises as to who will seal the deal, given the spike in volatility with some unexpected/radical changes in the trajectories of the Big 4. Federer, who is expected to take Wimbledon home, lost in the quarter-finals to someone he should by right beat. Nadal, who has not reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon since 2011, lost out by a thin margin in an epic semi-final match with Djokovic. Djokovic, despite not gaining anything spectacular throughout the earlier periods of this year, won Wimbledon as unexpectedly as Federer did not.
So who will win?
We are counting out some honorable mentions - the members of the Next Generation, Wawrinka, and Nishikori - based on their most recent performance. So we are left with only members from the Big 4 on this list.
As much as we want Federer to win, we also understand the narrowness of his chances this time round. In fact, our estimate has dropped from 56% (our estimate of his chance at winning the 2017 US Open) last year. This due mainly to some unfortunate changes in his game, and of course the resurgence of both Nadal (there is a subtle yet significant improve in his standards since last year) and Djokovic. Federer has been much more reactive this year - he slices the ball more on the backhand side, and is much less reluctant to go on the attack from the very start. Had he gotten to go head on with Nadal this year, the results would definitely be much less lopsided than last year.
Djokovic's surge in performance this year is considered by us astronomical, given how unexpected it was. From being physically (and psychologically, unpleasant as this sounds) injured throughout a huge portion of the first half of the year, he managed to make a comeback that in hindsight began with the rehiring of his old coach Marian Vajda. It took just weeks for him to discover his game - the comeback was evident in his 'beautiful and great loss' to Nadal in the Italian Open semi-final. If he were to roll on in the same style, Djokovic might very well claim the US Open title - hard court is after all his favorite surface.
Nadal's performance at Wimbledon has shown that he is not just rejuvenated, he is back and much better. Logically speaking, if he is able to perform this well in a surface he has foundered on while being remaining remarkable on others, he should perform much better in the US Open this year. It is all the more uncertain as we have not seen him play against Federer thus far in the year, and he was bowed out of the Australian Open earlier this year from injury, so we cannot do a year-on-year comparison study of Nadal's competitive ability. But one thing is sure, he looks immune to all but two of the Big 4.
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