I may be the baseball expert here at SI Kids but I am also a tennis fanatic. I always enjoy the Australian Open, The French Open and Wimbledon, but of all the majors, my favorite is the U.S. Open.
As the last grand slam of the year, it gives players a chance to make a statement and end on a high note. Read on for a quick guide to the five men and five women to pay attention to this year...
Roger Federer: If it seems like Roger Federer can make history at every major, it’s because he can. After winning five straight U.S. Open championships, Federer has the chance to be the first player to win a tournament (not just a Grand Slam) six years in a row. He will be tough to beat.
Andy Murray: The Scot hasn’t won a Grand Slam yet, but many are predicting a Murray-Federer final for the second year in a row. He has a tough draw but this could definitely be his year.
Rafael Nadal: Nadal is one U.S. Open win away from completing the career slam (championships at all four majors). But it’s not likely to happen this year. Coming back from his knee injury he will still be better than most, but not good enough to go all the way.
Andy Roddick: I am totally rooting for Roddick. After losing an epic Wimbledon final to Federer, Roddick is not only a better tennis player than ever, but he’s also a lot more fun to root for. He’s won in New York before, and I think he can do it again this year.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: Tsonga is one of my favorite players. I like more athletic tennis and Tsonga is like a power hitter on the hard courts. When he’s bad, he’s pretty beatable. But, as he proved when he reached the final at the 2008 Australian Open, when he’s on, watch out.
Serena Williams: She might be the best Number 2 on Earth. The defending U.S. Open champ has been criticized recently for only giving it her all at major tournaments. I don’t think that matters. I also don’t think anyone can stop her.
Venus Williams: There will be no all-Williams final this year. As the two and three seeds, they will likely meet in the semifinals. Venus hasn’t won the U.S. Open since 2001, and no one will need Serena to have an off day more than she will.
Dinara Safina: Safina is the top seed in the tournament despite never having won a grand slam. I’m a die-hard Serena Williams fan, but if she can’t do it, it would be nice to see Safina make good on that Number 1 ranking.
Elena Dementieva: Dementieva nearly knocked Serena out of Wimbledon, but she couldn’t close it out and Serena went on to win the thing. Still, the Olympic gold medalist cannot be overlooked.
Kim Clijsters: Clijsters is making a comeback after having a baby, so this is her first grand slam in two years. She won the U.S. Open in 2005 and her game is very well-suited to the quick courts. But she’ll have to get past Marion Bartoli in the second round, which will be tough.
I’m calling this one for Serena Williams and Andy Roddick. CLICK HERE to tell me who you think will win!