The 2011 U.S. Open kicks off today in Flushing, Queens, N.Y. in just about perfect post-Hurricane Irene weather.
The interesting questions and tidbits of this year's Open are:
- Will World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continue his historic season and win his third Grand Slam of the year? If Djokovic wins the title, he will leave New York with a mind-boggling 64-2 match record in 2011.
- Will World No. 2 Rafael Nadal defend his title and win his second U.S. Open crown? Nadal and Djokovic are on opposite ends of the field and are not scheduled to meet until the final. Rafa is 0-5 against Djokovic in Final's matches this year and the questions about his poor showings against the new No. 1 are starting to annoy him.
- Will World No. 3 Roger Federer capture his 6th U.S. Open title? The 30-year old Swiss still believes he has enough in the tank to get the job done. The physically-fit former World No. 1 has said in the past, it's the body that tells you how old you are not age. We'll see.
- Will World No. 4 Andy Murray break his Grand Slam funk and capture his first major? If he does-- not only would it be his first but the first by a British player in a gazillion years.
- And finally there's the 18th seeded Juan Martin del Potro. How will the 2009 champion respond in his return to the big event? Del Potro is "technically" defending his 2009 title as he was unable to play last year due to a wrist injury. He is on a collision course to clash with Murray in the quarterfinals. The Argentine has always said, the U.S. Open is his favorite event of the year. With his epic win over then-No. 1 Roger Federer in the 2009 Final, I think we have to believe him.
- First, the same old story. Will World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki win her first-ever Grand Slam and justify her worthiness of the No. 1 ranking? Fair or unfair, that has been Wozniacki's reality since taking over the No. 1 ranking almost a year ago. And an interesting tidbit would be: How much of a distraction has her new flame, Rory McIlroy, been for her?
- How in the world was Serena Williams seeded No. 28? The 3-time champion and former World No. 1 may be the first 28th seed in history to be the favorite to win the title. But if Serena has a poor showing, will she be hounded with the following question: Did you leave the tournament in Cincinnati, not because of a right toe injury, but because you didn't want to miss Kim Kardashian's wedding? Just curious. By the way, who did Kim marry anyway? People Magazine didn't even put him on their wedding cover.
- What will the media frenzy be like if third-seeded and World No. 4 Maria Sharapova wins the title? Somehow I get the feeling the little pooch with the heavy accent may get his old gig back in the Canon commercials if the Russian beauty prevails.
- No. 2 Vera Zvonareva and No. 4 Victoria Azarenka are overdue. Will either of these ladies win their first-ever Grand Slam title? It's time, ladies!
Men's champion: No. 2 Rafael Nadal
Women's champion: No. 28 Serena Williams