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US Open: without stars and luck of the draw: dreary German tennis prospects

US Open
Without stars and luck of the draw: dreary German tennis prospects

The captain of the German Davis Cup team, Michael Kohlmann, sits on a grandstand. photo

© Frank Molter/dpa

From a German perspective, expectations at the US Open are low after the two top players canceled their start and bad luck struck. Others are provided for the highlights.

Alexander Zverev is toiling on the training ground for his comeback, Angelique Kerber is pregnant. The two best German tennis professionals are physically and mentally very far away from the US Open, which from a German perspective could become a very dreary event.

In addition to the lack of stars, the bad luck in the draw caused a lot of disillusionment before the tournament started this Monday in New York.

“The German men and women have not exactly been kissed by the luck of the draw,” said Davis Cup team boss Michael Kohlmann of the German Press Agency. It would be a surprise if the last Grand Slam tournament of the year took place with German participation in the second week. “That shouldn’t be our claim,” said Kohlmann, “but in this special situation it’s what you’d have to accept.”

From a German point of view, sadness threatens

A look at the world rankings shows how difficult it will be for the eight-strong German team in New York. Before the start of the tournament, Oscar Otte is in the best position in 41st place, but last year’s round of 16 has lost match practice after his knee injury. In addition, his Polish opponent Hubert Hurkacz, number ten in the world, is of great caliber.

The women may be able to improve the balance again, as did Tatjana Maria (semifinals) and Jule Niemeier (quarterfinals) at the Grand Slam in Wimbledon. Maria (35) is “always good for a surprise” with her fighting heart, said women’s tennis boss Barbara Rittner, but the re-entry into the semi-finals on hard court “probably cannot be repeated”.

Especially since Maria’s strong opening opponent on Monday (5 p.m. CEST / Eurosport), the Greek world number three Maria Sakkari, is out for revenge. In London she lost in straight sets against the German outsider. “Wimbledon showed me that I can keep up with the best. That I can even beat them,” said Maria, mother of two, confidently.

In the case of Niemeier (23), who competes in the first round against former Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin from the USA, the public “must not make the mistake of being blinded by the Wimbledon tournament,” warned her coach Christopher Kas . Andrea Petkovic, who is a clear outsider at the start against the Swiss Olympic champion Belinda Bencic, sees the potential for a “top 20 player” in Niemeier. But on hard court, the Dortmund player “still has room for improvement,” said Rittner.

Serena Williams celebrates farewell

Others are planned for the highlights anyway. All eyes are on Serena Williams, the tennis queen’s farewell should be highly emotional. The 23-time Grand Slam tournament winner can start against Danka Kovinic from Montenegro in the first night session at Arthur Ashe Stadium in front of almost 24,000 fans and celebrate – maybe one last time individually. Later in the tournament, the 40-year-old competes again in doubles with her older sister Venus.

For men, the Spanish exceptional Rafael Nadal is aiming for his 23rd Grand Slam title. His biggest rival Novak Djokovic was not allowed to enter the USA because he had not been vaccinated against the corona virus, and veteran Roger Federer is still behind in training after another knee operation. However, there is also a question mark behind Nadal’s fitness after the abdominal muscle injury last suffered at Wimbledon.

One of Nadal’s biggest challengers is Daniil Medvedev. The world number one is allowed to defend his title from the previous year because, unlike Wimbledon, the Russian and Belarusian players are allowed to start despite the war in Ukraine. That’s why world ranking points will be distributed again this time.

dpa

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