Murray played nearly as boldly against Federer at the Olympics, dictating the tempo and forcing Federer into uncharacteristically poor decision-making.
And that’s what he’ll have to do to win the U.S. Open, in the view of coaching veteran Brad Gilbert, an analyst with ESPN.
“The way he was playing at the Olympics, if he can sustain that level for 21 sets (seven straight-sets victories), I have no doubt he can win a major,” Gilbert said. “He did it by winning it; by going through guys. Not waiting for guys to make mistakes.”
That’s how Serena Williams approached Wimbledon and the Olympics as well, serving brilliantly on the grass and attacking her opponents at every opportunity. And she came away with the singles and doubles crowns, shared with sister Venus, at each event.
Her 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Maria Sharapova in the Olympic gold-medal match was an overwhelming display of dominance. With it, Williams completed a Golden Slam, becoming only the second woman and fourth player in history to win all four majors and Olympic singles gold.
“Serena has proved more times than not than when she’s motivated and healthy and playing well, she’s the player to beat,” said Chris Evert, now part of ESPN’s broadcast team.
No active player in women’s tennis comes close to Williams’s 14 major titles. But like Federer, she hasn’t won the U.S. Open since 2008.
This year’s tournament will be the last for Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, 29, who will retire for a second and final time upon its conclusion. Clijsters stunned many in the sport by winning her second U.S. Open within months returning from a near two-year layoff following the birth of her daughter.
Asked to rate the players she had competed against during his career, Clijsters proclaimed Serena Williams as the best ever.
“She’s fast, she’s strong, she has a very good eye, as well,” Clijsters said. “What we have seen over the last few months is the best player ever.”
Informed of Clijsters’s assessment, Williams demurred.
“I can’t sit here and say I’m the best ever; I’m not. I’m not worthy of that title,” Williams said. “I’m just Serena. I love playing tennis, and I’m good at it. Just because I’m good at it doesn’t make me the best.”