The unpredictability of the men’s singles is becoming the feature of the final Grand Slam of the year.
In the past 11 years, Wimbledon has witnessed two cases of successfully defending the championship (Djokovic in 2014-2015 and 2018-2019), Roland Garros five times (Nadal in the period 2010-2014) and Australia Open four. times (Djokovic the years 2010-2013). At those Grand Slam tournaments, there has always been a dominant player for more than a decade. But since Roger Federer in 2008, no one has won it twice in the US Open.
The most obvious reason is the schedule. Due to being the last Grand Slam of the year, the players who arrived at Flushing Meadows brought with them all the fatigue from the tournaments they had attended earlier. US Open is also an important turning point of the ATP ordering table.
In New York, Djokovic withdrew from a shoulder injury, before Federer lost a match in which he had to seek medical care for his neck and back. Other candidates like Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas also did not have the sharpness to compete, while last year’s runner-up Del Potro was absent. Del Potro has not been an isolated case in recent years. In fact, the fact that the players who made it to the finals of the previous year failed to retain their fitness for the following year has always been a recurring theme.
Last year, Nadal failed to defend the title when he gave up against Del Potro in the semi-finals. 12 months earlier, both players who were present in the 2016 US Open finals were Wawrinka and Djokovic dropped out of the tournament and ended the season early due to injury. Federer also had a similar situation in the US Open 2016. Meanwhile, the rickety body also forced Nadal to skip the 2012 and 2014 tournaments, although the Spanish tennis player was crowned in 2013.
Those facts show that the US Open has become a physical nightmare for players. The fear of getting injured before coming to Flushing Meadows became chronic, and caused the “Big Three” to adjust the schedule. They had to miss one of the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati and Montreal.