While we have gotten a bit used to him not being part of the competition, going out the 2nd round at Wimbledon and not competing since, it still seems very strange to not have him even in the picture. Having won his one and only U.S. Open title in 2010 and then reaching the final again last year to be defeated by Novak Djokovic, not having him there really changes the whole scope of possible winners and finalists this year. I will save more ponderings on that until we get closer. It will be interesting, however, to see how the rest of the year plays out for Rafa. I have read everything from the rest of his career is threatened to him playing as early as September's Davis Cup, so time will tell how his knees heal up. Hopefully he is enjoying his rest time, since he always says the season is too long.
Meanwhile in Cincinnati the tournament is fully underway now with Djokovic, Murray and Federer all winning in straight sets to advance to the Round of 16. I have to say, being the Fed fan that I am, that Roger played a beautiful match yesterday. He said himself that he either plays bad here or really well. If yesterday was any indication I think the latter is his form this year. There really was nothing his opponent could do as Roger hit winner after winner with great variety of shots. We will see how this translates into matches against higher ranked opponents. I am already feeling very bummed out that I am going to be out of town for Friday - Sunday's matches! That, of course, is what DVRs are for, but not the same as watching live. It is very seldom that I miss parts of tournaments that he is playing in, but the U.S. Open is priority and sometimes sacrifices need to be made.
|Hitting autographed balls to lucky fans after his win|