US Open 2018 talking points
By Sky Sports Tennis
Last Updated: 10/09/18 9:09pm
The 2018 US Open will be remembered as one of the most dramatic Grand Slam tournaments in history.
The tournament in New York saw the big titles going to Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, but it will be remembered for all manner of controversies and talking points.
Here, we pick out what we learned from a dramatic fortnight at Flushing Meadows...
Umpires in the limelight
After Mohamed Lahyani's mid-match pep talk to Nick Kyrgios caused uproar, Carlos Ramos became the third player in the women's final. In giving Serena Williams three code violations, the Portuguese official was applying the letter of the law, but other umpires would probably have given the 23-time Grand Slam champion a bit more leeway.
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The frustration comes from a lack of consistency in the game. Particularly with coaching from the stands, there is a tacit understanding that it goes on, but it is punished only sporadically when it comes to majors. It is no surprise players feel they are being treated unfairly if not everyone is treated the same.
Novak closing in on Rafa & Feds
Six months ago Novak Djokovic lost against world No 109 Taro Daniel at Indian Wells as the former world No 1 looked a shadow of his former self on his return from elbow surgery. From admitting to feeling like someone playing his "first match" Djokovic is now back to his vintage best and winning on the sport's biggest stages. The 31-year-old made it back-to-back Grand Slam titles as he produced an imperious performance to end Juan Martin del Potro's hopes of a second US Open title.
Fourth time Novak Djokovic has won multiple Grand Slam titles in a season:
|2018||Wimbledon, US Open|
|2016||Australian Open, French Open|
|2015||Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open|
|2011||Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open|
Djokovic wins third US Open title
Novak Djokovic beats Juan Martin del Potro to win third US Open title
Djokovic joins his idol Pete Sampras on 14 titles and is now closing the gap on his great rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. On what we have seen since he hit the grass at Queen's Club it would be hard to argue against making him the favourite for the Australian Open - four months before the tournament starts. He has moved himself into position to end his career as the most successful Grand Slam title winner.
Did you know...
The US Open has been won by a member of the Big Four in 12 of the last 15 years with Federer (5), Djokovic (3), Nadal (3) and Murray (1) capturing titles. Since Roland Garros in 2005, the Big Four have accounted for 50 of the past 55 Grand Slam titles.
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Still waiting for the Next Gen
We started the tournament by asking the question as to whether the new wave of rising stars on the men's tour could finally start to make their mark on the Grand Slams. A last four of Nadal, Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Kei Nishikori had an average age of 30 and experience continues to prevail on the biggest of stages. One man with no excuses is three-time masters champion Alexander Zverev who remarkably has only gone beyond the fourth round of the Grand Slams only once at this year's French Open. Until he makes his mark in the majors questions will continue to be asked.
The jump to five-set contests cannot be underestimated and there were mini successes along the way - Karen Khachanov's thriller with Nadal among them. Many can consider themselves unlucky following the draw, acquitting themselves well in high profile contests. Denis Shapovalov pushed Kevin Anderson to five sets, Alex de Minaur did likewise to Marin Cilic and Borna Coric was beaten by a rampant Del Potro. Perhaps only Stefanos Tsitsipas can be disappointed, losing to fellow rising star Daniil Medvedev, having arrived on the back of a Masters final in Cincinnati.
The NextGen are coming but they will have to wait for another year - one year older and one year wiser, there's no substitute for experience after all.
Career-high ATP Rankings in Top 50 after US Open:
|No 18||Borna Coric|
|No 25||Karen Khachanov|
|No 35||Daniil Medvedev|
|No 38||Alex de Minaur|
Naomi is big in Japan
The 20-year-old Naomi Osaka has been a rising talent for several years, with her forehand known as a major weapon, but, under the guidance of Serena Williams' former hitting partner Sascha Bajin, Osaka has become a much more rounded player and someone able to handle the big occasion with ice-cool calm. Allied to her endearing, quirky personality, there is no doubt tennis has new star.
Not only had she entered the history books as the first Japanese Grand Slam winner, but she achieved the feat with victory over Williams - her childhood idol - in extraordinary circumstances.
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Osaka began 2018 ranked 68th, but had made her way into the top 20 by September, having celebrated the first WTA win of her career at Indian Wells in March. She will enter the top 10 for the first time, ranked seventh in the world. So how will she celebrate winning one of tennis' biggest prizes and achieving a lifelong dream? "Maybe I'll play video games. I don't know," she said.
British tennis still needs Murray
Andy Murray's second-round exit seems a long time ago and was his earliest at a Grand Slam for a decade. But there were enough positive signs to at least indicate the Scot could return to being a factor at the latter stages of majors again. And Britain is not ready for him to bow out just yet. While Johanna Konta and Kyle Edmund have both excelled in their own right, neither made it past the first round here, and no British singles player has made it into the second week at four of the last five slams.
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