At the start of the year, many wondered if Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were, perhaps, past their glory days. But Federer, coming back from a long injury recovery, and Nadal, almost out of the top ten, then delighted tennis fans by reaching the Australian Open final that Federer won. Now both find themselves the most talked about players entering this year’s US Open. Despite their long history together, neither man has faced the other across the net in New York. If they do in the semifinals, it will cap off what has been the biggest, yet most welcomed surprise this year.
Serena Williams, who won in Melbourne before revealing her pregnancy soon after, will not be in New York. But her absence on the women’s tour is still very much felt. Especially with an ongoing race to the top WTA ranking that now includes eight women in the hunt. One being her elder sister Venus Williams, herself enjoying the best season of her career in some time having reached two major finals. Yet, the open-ended, unpredictable women’s tour these days has many, including one of the all-time greats, longing for the rivalries of the past.