Don't bet on Murray winning!
Despite Rafael Nadal being forced to pull out through injury, the US Open – set to get underway next week – is still filled with quality and has all the ingredients of yet another fantastic Grand Slam tournament.
There was disappointment when the Spaniard announced he wouldn’t be fit, but this takes nothing away from the men that will be competing. The final Grand Slam of the season should throw up come epic battles.
The favourites to be in contention for success will need no introduction with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer the two men to beat, available at 6/4 and 5/2 respectively.
Referring to Djokovic to begin with, well he will be in determined mood after losing his No.1 ranking at Wimbledon. There are even talks of crisis after he has only secured one Grand Slam title this year, jokingly of course.
The Serb will be keen to end the year on a high though. He will perhaps never match the heights of 2011 – where he secured three of the four Grand Slam titles – but to turn on the style over the next couple of weeks would guarantee 2012 is seen as another world-beating year for Djokovic.
You then have the great man – Roger Federer. For one reason or another, he has been written off over the last couple of years, but victory at Wimbledon – where he was at his majestic best – has put him at the top of the World rankings once again.
Away from the grass of SW19, the hard surface of Flushing Meadows and the US Open is his second best hunting ground too. Federer has five wins in this wonderful tournament, but not since 2008 so he is due for success in America and he knows it.
Beyond these two, you have British hopeful Andy Murray at 10/3. He came closer than ever to securing a Grand Slam title earlier this year, but found Federer in irresistible form during in the Wimbledon final.
There is no doubt that he is good enough though and one day, his time will come in a major tournament. Whether he can recover from the emotional ride of the last few weeks – Wimbledon and winning Gold at the Olympics – is another matter.
Murray will want to breeze through the opening rounds and save his energy for the semi-finals and beyond. After a tough few months, the Scotsman needs one big push for finish a year that has seen him mature as a player.
There are of course other contenders, but beyond Djokovic, Federer and Murray, you are starting to look at the outsiders. These are led by Juan Martin Del Potro at 10/1, a man who can beat anyone on his day, but struggles to have his day at the right time.
The likes of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer – all available between 30/1 and 50/1 for a shock victory – will attempt to challenge for a place in the latter stages and certainly be involved in some competitive and entertaining matches in the first week.
Overall, this should be a superb tournament and one you won’t be able to take your eyes off. From Monday onwards, we are in for some world-class tennis.