Skip to main content

Courier's choices: Who will be U.S. Open champions?

From Pat Cash, CNN Open Court
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Mon August 27, 2012
Novak Djokovic will be defending his U.S. Open title in Flushing Meadows as he bids for his second grand slam of the 2012 season. Novak Djokovic will be defending his U.S. Open title in Flushing Meadows as he bids for his second grand slam of the 2012 season.
HIDE CAPTION
Djokovic to double up?
Courier's credentials
Golden Murray
Dominant Serena
<<
<
1
2
3
4
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • U.S. Open next month pivotal in deciding player of year in 2012
  • Four different winners of men's grand slams and the Olympic singles crown
  • U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier picks Novak Djokovic to retain men's title
  • He believes Serena Williams overwhelming favorite for women's crown

(CNN) -- The battle for men's tennis supremacy in 2012 will boil down to the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows, according to former world number one Jim Courier.

The American Davis Cup captain has watched the world's top players at close quarters this year and believes there is nothing to divide Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, Wimbledon winner Roger Federer and Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray.

Rafael Nadal would also come into that category, but the French Open champion will miss the New York event with a knee injury which also prevented him taking part at London 2012.

"The winner of the final slam of the season will have added a second major title to their record and can justifiably claim to be No.1," Courier told CNN's Open Court ahead of Monday's opening matches at the two-week hard-court tournament.

Jim Courier's U.S. Open tips
Petra Kvitova looking to win 2nd major
Tennis star launches candy line
Maria Sharapova, on and off the court

The four-time grand slam champion said Murray's Olympic triumph in the men's singles this month, when where he beat Federer in straight sets in the final, had elevated him to the same status as the other three.

"It used to be three and a half, now it's the big four," Courier said.

"Murray has momentum with him and has been unbelievably consistent."

But when pressed to predict the winner in New York, Courier opted for defending champion Djokovic, believing he can return to the form which saw him totally dominate in 2011 "and on his best surface."

The Serbian started his North American hard court swing by easily retaining his Toronto Masters crown where he beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets in the final.

He can't reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Federer even if he wins the September 8 final, but it would set him up for the end-of-year honors ahead of November's ATP World Tour Finals.

Murray upbeat about U.S. Open despite crashing in Cincinnati

World No. 4 Murray won his opening match in Canada but then withdrew with a knee injury, and suffered a shock early exit in Cincinnati as he failed to defend his title.

With Federer also in superb form, thrashing Djokovic in the Cincinnati final, Courier cannot see outside the top three seeds.

But he nominated 2009 champion Juan Martin Del Potro, who took Olympic bronze at Wimbledon, French world No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and John Isner, who has performed heroics in the U.S. march to the semifinals of the Davis Cup, as dangerous outsiders.

"You would not have any of those in your part of the draw," he said.

Tennis star Venus Williams has relaunched her clothing label EleVen ahead of the U.S. Open. The 32-year-old took time out of her playing career to graduate from fashion school.
Tennis star Venus Williams has relaunched her clothing label EleVen ahead of the U.S. Open. The 32-year-old took time out of her playing career to graduate from fashion school.
'Better than 10'
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
Venus Williams\' fashion highs and lows Venus Williams' fashion highs and lows
CNN's Open Court show visited Rafael Nadal at his home island of Mallorca, where he was interviewed by Pedro Pinto. CNN's Open Court show visited Rafael Nadal at his home island of Mallorca, where he was interviewed by Pedro Pinto.
Inside the Nadal camp
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
At home with Rafael Nadal At home with Rafael Nadal
Serena Williams displays her "super crazy" hairstyle before her Cincinnati opener against Elena Daniilidou. Serena Williams displays her "super crazy" hairstyle before her Cincinnati opener against Elena Daniilidou.
Letting her hair down
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Serena Williams battles \'crazy hair\' Serena Williams battles 'crazy hair'

For Courier, who won two Australian Opens and two French Open crowns, the choice of women's champion is easier.

"Serena Williams," said the 42-year-old, who lost in the finals of the 1991 U.S Open and Wimbledon two years later.

"She played ridiculously well in the Olympics."

Wimbledon champion Williams will be bidding for her fourth U.S. Open crown and 15th grand slam title, but she surprisingly lost to Australian Samantha Stosur in last year's final when looking similarly invincible. She also slipped up in the WTA event in Cincinnati this month with a quarterfinal loss to Angelique Kerber -- her first defeat since exiting early at the French Open in June.

After the U.S. Open, Courier will take the U.S. team to Gijon to face Davis Cup champions Spain as the Americans bid to reach the final for the first time since 2007. They thrashed Federer's Switzerland team 5-0 in February and beat Tsonga's France 3-2 in April.

"We're not going to beat the Spaniards -- but we weren't going to beat the Swiss or the French either," Courier said.

"You look on paper at our matches this year -- away, on clay, against great teams -- we should be playing a relegation match now rather than the semifinals.

"The Bryan brothers, they've won everything, done everything. Isner's been a real threat to everyone he's played in Davis Cup and Mardy Fish came up big for us in Switzerland with a singles win and doubles win. We've put together a true team effort."

Courier will be taking on some of the finest tennis players in modern history in the 12-city Powershare Champions Series that he helped create.

John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors and Michael Chang will be among the big names taking part in a whistlestop tour of the U.S. from mid October to the end of November.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
updated 8:42 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
updated 12:16 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
updated 2:36 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
ADVERTISEMENT