Johannesburg - With Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka out and an injury-prone Andy Murray rusty, another Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal clash could be on the cards – the first at the US Open.
The last Grand Slam of the year begins tomorrow.
With Murray not looking good, coupled with Djokovic and Wawrinka’s absences, the stage is set for a Nadal-Federer battle. The pair share 34 Grand Slam wins between them.
Nadal and Federer have met 37 times. Nadal leads their head-to-head series 23-14 overall and 9-3 in Grand Slam tournaments.
Nadal has a winning record of 13-2 on clay and 8-5 on outdoor hard courts, while Federer leads the indoor hard courts 5-1 and 2-1 on grass.
The 36-year-old Federer turned the tables this year, winning all three games against his old nemesis, starting in January at the Australian Open, moving on to the Miami Open final and then the Indian Open quarterfinals.
It was the first time Federer won a match against Nadal in a Grand Slam event since the 2007 Wimbledon final. This also marked Federer’s first Grand Slam victory over Nadal outside the grass courts of Wimbledon.
SA Davis Cup captain Marcos Ondruska told City Press that, apart from Nadal and Federer, younger players such as Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem might shake things up.
Four-time US Open champion John McEnroe told ESPN this week that, “at the moment, we’re just assuming that Roger is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat again”.
“If he wins this, it will be one of the greatest stories in the past 50 years – or ever.”