It’s time for a US Open 2021 summary. Big congrats to Men’s and Women’s Championship winners: Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu.
US Open 2021 summary in short: this was an excellent grand slam with many twists and turns. Yes, we missed players like Nadal, Federer, and Thiem, but it’s pretty clear that tennis is doing fine even without these players in the mix. We had some epic encounters in Murray vs Tsitsipas, where “old man Murray” showed that he still has a few tricks in his bag. Novak Djokovic went for the 21st grand slam and the fourth in a row but came up short to a supreme Medvedev in the final. In the women’s tournament, we had two exciting 18-year olds in the final in Fernandez and Raducanu, showing that the game of tennis is doing really well!
I think this is the main takeout from the whole tournament. Tennis is doing perfectly well and does not need any drastic rule changes (maybe a mandatory five-minute break for the players after each set to change clothes, wrap bandages and go to the bathroom, so we solve the issue of unexpected timeouts and delays?). But the scoring system, the format, and everything else still appeals to crowds of all ages all over the world. We have legends that are still trying to do legendary things in the game like Rafa and Djokovic and we have the next generation of players coming in full force like Alcaraz, Raducanu, Fernandez, Rune, and so on.
What happens after the US Open?
The calendar always feels a bit empty after the final grand slam of the year. But, there are plenty of tournaments still to go. Just have a look at the ATP Calendar and you will see the Laver Cup in Boston, Indian Wells in October! and of course, the ATP Finals to look forward to. Several tournaments are canceled like the Rolex Masters, China Open and Tokyo Open due to the pandemic, but there is still plenty of tennis to be played.
It will be fascinating to follow the break-out stars of the US Open after the tournament. Can players like Raducanu, Fernandez, and Alcaraz stay in form and keep playing well throughout the end of the year? Or will there be a backlash from all the pressure and the expectations that come with this kind of success. Will Medvedev keep playing this amazing hard-court tennis that he has done in the last couple of months?
And how will the remainder of Djokovic’s almost record-breaking 2021 look? Will he find the motivation to keep playing good tennis without history on the line? I am sure the next tournament we will see Novak at 100% effort level is the Australian Open, where he is the overwhelming favorite to go for 21 grand slams again. It’s clear that his quest for history took a lot out of him and I think a rest and a re-focus period is what the doctor ordered.