The Watch List spotlights the must-know storylines for the upcoming week in tennis. With one week to go until the U.S. Open, the men and women get one more tune-up in Winston-Salem, N.C., and New Haven, Conn., while the biggest names on tour make their way to New York.
The big question plaguing Winston-Salem is whether its two biggest names, John Isner and Tomas Berdych, will even play. Berdych took a late wild card before making the semifinals of last week’s Western & Southern Open and though it would be bad form to now withdraw from the tournament, it’s probably for the best if he wants to rest before the U.S. Open. As for Isner, he’s played a tour-leading 20 matches since Wimbledon, and would be playing his fifth tournament in as many weeks if he decides to play Winston-Salem. That’s a lot of matches for a body that has been ailing.
If they do keep to their commitment, both the top-seeded Berdych and Isner are in the same half of a draw that is noticeably lopsided. Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey have also been drawn in the top half, while the bottom half is led by No. 21 Andreas Seppi, Tommy Robredo and Fernando Verdasco.
New Haven Open at Yale
Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber top the draw in New Haven, and the field is packed with a number of top 20 players who are looking for deep runs at the U.S. Open. Defending champion Petra Kvitova, four-time champion Caroline Wozniacki, Australian Open semifinalist Sloane Stephens and Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki are all entered as well. Lisicki has yet to win a match after her Wimbledon run, losing to Jelena Jankovic in Cincinnati, while Kvitova, Wozniacki and Stephens look to build on some good wins over the last two weeks and generate momentum for New York.
U.S. Open draw ceremony
The draw ceremony takes place on Thursday at noon. The biggest question is whether the men’s draw will be balanced. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are the top two seeds, but with defending champion Andy Murray at No. 3 and Roger Federer at No. 7, it’s possible that three members of the the Big Fou will land on one side of the draw.
Tennis invades New York City
Sponsor obligations will be filling up ever top player’s calendar this week, which means a number of prime chances for fun photo opportunities and hijinks around the city. Maria Sharapova is launching a new accessory line on Tuesday, Milos Raonic is playing ping pong with fans and Federer, Djokovic and Serena Williams will also be running around New York to support their sponsors.