Andy Murray can't wait to get started at US Open
Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer face a worrying power shortage, but Andy Murray does not expect injury and faltering form to dim tennis' brightest lights at the US Open, which starts today.
Djokovic, the world No 1 and the hottest player in 2011 with a 57-2 winning record, was forced to quit the Cincinnati Masters final against Murray when his weary right shoulder betrayed him.
Nadal, the defending US Open champion who completed the career grand slam with his victory in 2010, has endured a torrid summer since capturing a record-equalling sixth French Open title in June.
Early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati again prompted questions over the Spaniard's recovery from a left foot injury which had flared up at Wimbledon when he lost to Djokovic in the final.
Federer, meanwhile, is without a major since extending his record grand slam collection to 16 at the 2010 Australian Open.
With the great Swiss having celebrated his 30th birthday, and surrendered a two-set lead to lose in five to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Wimbledon quarter-finals, his career obituaries are already being written.
But Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, having won 28 of the last 31 grand slam crowns, are still comfortably the favourites for a final which falls on the emotional 10th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks on the US.
Certainly Murray, the world No 4, scoffed at suggestions they were particularly vulnerable.
"I know come Monday they'll all be fine," Murray said. "I have a chance of winning for sure. Whether it's my best chance or not, no one has a clue like that."
Nadal is getting used to the questions he faces - usually in relation to knees, ankles and feet - before a grand slam.
"Tennis is a simple game. You don't have to think a lot what's going on. I have to be ready to play with high intensity and with my best rhythm for four hours," said Nadal.
Murray, under pressure to end his country's 75-year wait for a grand slam men's singles champion, was runner-up in New York in 2008.
The Scot was also runner-up to Djokovic at the Australian Open this year before losing to Nadal in the semi-finals at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
"I can't wait to get started in New York," Murray said. "It's my favourite tournament.
Published: August 29, 2011 04:00 AM