U.S. Open: Is Roger Federer the Cal Ripken of tennis?

Roger Federer remains one sports most amazing stars
Roger Federer remains one sports most amazing stars

As the 2014 U.S. Open gets underway starting today at The United States Tennis Center, in Flushing Meadow, New York. I must say that  few should be surprised at who are the favorites. On the women’s side it Serena Williams and the men’s favorite is Novak Djokovic, both are ranked World No. 1, and are the tournaments top seeds

(Here is your complete TV guide to watching the U.S. Open on ESPN2, the Tennis Channel, CBS and CBS Sports Network)

Williams seeks her 18th Grand Slam and third consecutive U.S. Open title. Djokovic hopes to win his second Slam this year and another U.S. Open.

There is one rather large milestone in tennis and that the amazing 33 year old, Roger Federer, who will be playing in his 60th consecutive Major event. That is an amazing stat considering the wear and tear that tennis puts on your body not to mention the travel and the mental stress.

Last week during a conference call Sports Talk Florida spoke with ESPN tennis analysts Chrissie Evert, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe and got their thoughts on Federer and a few other things to look out for over the next two weeks in Flushing Meadow.

Here are their thoughts on Roger Federer, who I really think could be the dark horse in this year’s field.

“His temperament is so easygoing that he won’t get mentally burned out because he just lets losses and things roll off his back… When he loses a match, he takes his entourage out to dinner to celebrate and have a party.  When I lost a match, I’d go back to the hotel room and sulk,” said Evert.

Gilbert marveled at his ability to play injury free” His streak, what he’s doing, is just off the charts.  Huge props to his team…. He’s obviously done an amazing job of taking care of his body…he plays an incredibly wise schedule.  He doesn’t overplay…He certainly is the Cal Ripken of tennis.”

Both Serena and Sharapova, are both very intimidating on the court. Does that help them and is it an effective tool?

“Yeah, I mean, Steffi was a little that way.  The thing is, I think it’s just a form of intensity.  It’s a form of the player getting themselves into a certain frame of mind where they’re going to be, you know, totally concentrating.  It has nothing to do with the opponent,” said Evert. “I think it’s all to do with getting themselves psyched up and getting themselves in the most intense possible and concentrated space possible.  If you watch Maria Sharapova, I watch her fist.  Her left fist, it’s unbelievable the way they clenches her fist.  If you watch the match, she never opens up the left fist.  If she opens it up, is it going to be half the size of the right hand.  Digging the nails into the palm of that hand…

“ That’s a form of intensity.  That’s like really an exaggerated form of intensity.  But I know Serena sometimes will get a little complacent, and that’s because she’s going to be 33 next year.  You can’t be intense every single match for 15 years.  But when she wants to, she’ll scream and yell at herself and get really emotional.  It has nothing to do with the opponent.  It’s just her getting herself psyched up.”

Notable absences from the field impacted seeding. Li Na, ranked No. 3 and No. 2 Rafael Nadal, both withdrew due to injuries.

This allowed Maria Sharapova, ranked No.6 to be seeded No. 5. Roger Federer, ranked No. 3, is seeded No. 2.

The oddsmakers ignored rankings and seeding. David Ferrer is ranked No. 5 and seeded No. 4. However, Ferrer is a long-shot at 66-1 odds. Meanwhile, 2012 Champion, Andy Murray, ranked No. 9 and seeded No. 8, is at 4-1 odds.

Victoria Azarenka, runner-up in the past two U.S. Open finals, has seen her ranking slip to No. 17. Yet she is considered a better bet, at 20-1, than Angelique Kerber, seeded No. 6, at 40-1.