US Open things we learnt 🎾
US Open Review: Things we learnt…
It’s a wrap for the 2022 US Open and what a tournament it was!
From the very first round to the final match, the final Grand Slam of the year was a thrilling one. Some of the best matches of the year were contested, new milestones were reached, history was made on many fronts and goodbyes were said.
Carlos Alcaraz is worth the hype
Over the years, there have been countless youngsters who have broken out and excited tennis fans. Many of those players eventually failed to live up to expectations, fading before they reach the desired heights and generally underwhelming.
For a player who only made his ATP debut in 2020, Carlos Alcaraz has already surpassed expectations. The Spaniard drew attention to himself in 2021 with various impressive results but after his five-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in that year’s US Open third round, praises really began to flood in and he was termed the sport’s ‘next big thing’.
Naturally, because the sport has seen so many pretenders, there were many questions as to whether Alcaraz would be able to manage the pressure of the expectations and hype around him. The 19-year-old has now answered those questions by emerging men’s singles champion at the US Open.
Before the US Open, the 19-year-old was already having a convincing year, having won two ATP 500 titles and two Masters 1000 titles, with wins over Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic along the way.
With his US Open triumph, the Spaniard has now ascended to the peak of the rankings, becoming the youngest World No.1 in ATP history.
His beautiful tennis and mind-blowing relentlessness led him to this incredible feat and he is proving that he is truly worth all the hype he has been getting in the last year.
No one has a smooth-sailing career and Alcaraz will be no exception. He will have rough patches and ups and downs, but the youngster is here to stay and many more big things are on the cards for him.
Iga Swiatek is a worthy No.1
WTA World No.1 Iga Swiatek went into the US Open in somewhat uninspiring form but with a solid 6-2, 7-6(5) victory over Ons Jabeur in the final, the Pole has now won her second Grand Slam of the year and third career Grand Slam title.
When former World No.1 Ashleigh Barty unexpectedly announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 25 in March, Swiatek was made to take up that position out of the blue and for anyone, the sudden pressure to perform could have hit her negatively. The Pole however responded with a 37-match winning streak and six titles, including a second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros.
That was probably enough to convince everyone that she could be a dominant World No.1, but after a third-round loss to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon and an underwhelming run of four wins in seven matches before the US Open, doubts began to creep into the minds of many tennis fans again.
By capturing her third Grand Slam title at the US Open, Swiatek has now silenced the doubters, proving that she can dominate the women’s tour even when she is not at her very best.
The first set of the final against Jabeur said a lot. Swiatek came out firing on all cylinders, rattling her opponent with her impeccable serves and swift returns. In the second set, when it seemed like the momentum had shifted Jabeur’s way, Swiatek remained focused to end the match in straight sets.
It was a persuasive win, one which showed she is worthy of that World No.1 spot.
The future of tennis is bright
Over the years, many have said men’s tennis will never be the same when the ‘Big Three’ (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) retire from the sport. The same has been said of women’s tennis with the end of Serena Williams’ career and with many other big names ageing.
This generation of players is however correcting that notion.
Beyond Alcaraz and Swiatek who are the current leaders of both tours, there are so many players who are growing, thriving in their own right and making a name for themselves.
The ATP and WTA tours are filled with hungry players, reading to take over when the older and more achieved players inevitably exit the sport. Alcaraz’s US Open quarterfinal match against 21-year-old Jannik Sinner was the match of the tournament and 2022 so far. His semifinal match against 24-year-old Frances Tiafoe was a memorable one as well. The final against 23-year-old Casper Ruud was incredibly exciting. Those are only a few of the amazing talents on the ATP Tour.
The likes of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitispas, Nick Kyrgios and others also continue to grow and remain in the mix.
In the WTA, Swiatek has Jabeur, Coco Gauff, Caroline Garcia, Ayna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula and many more to contend with.
Every generation has its stars and this current one is no exception. As the older players gradually fizzle out, there will be others to rise.
With numerous players on the rise, tennis is obviously in safe hands.
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