Is this the year for Federer vs Nadal in US Open?

It somehow has never happened, but Roger Federer - and every tennis fan in the world - would welcome the occasion. Federer and Rafael Nadal have played 37 times in their ATP Head to Head series, including three times this year - Australian Open final, Indian Wells round of 16 and Miami final - all of which Federer won.

But the all-time greats have never faced off at the US Open, which starts Monday in New York. The match-up could happen this year, though. Federer, the third seed, has been drawn in the same half as No. 1 seed Nadal. The two could meet in the semi-finals.

“I'd love to play Rafa here in New York. Hopefully it will be a night session. Hopefully that would be a great atmosphere and one again where we play great like at the Australian Open,” Federer said. “I think that would be fun for everybody involved.”

The 36-year-old Swiss makes his return to Flushing Meadows this week after having to miss the season's final Grand Slam last year because of injuries. He will be going his 20th Grand Slam title and his sixth US Open crown. Both would be records.

Federer last won the US Open in 2008, the fifth year of his five-peat. The early years of that streak stick with him the most, though.

“Winning here for the first time was big; 2004 was a great year for me. World No. 1 for the first time and trying to win the US Open for the first time. So that was a big deal of course,” Federer said. “You look back at those first couple of years where I got on the run of the five here. I fell in love with New York, I always loved coming back here as a junior back in '98 and every year after that. I think 2004 and '05 were the big years for me.”

Incredibly, Federer has a chance to return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings this fortnight. If he wins the title or makes the final, he will become No. 1 and knock Nadal off the top spot. The Spaniard reclaimed No. 1 last week.

Federer also could ascend to No. 1 if he makes the semi-finals and Nadal does not reach the last four, or if he reaches the quarter-finals and Nadal is upset in the first round.

Federer debuted at No. 1 on 2 February 2004 but has not been there since 4 November 2012. Federer would break two records of Andre Agassi's if he were to reach the top spot again.

He would become the oldest No. 1 since the ATP Rankings were established in 1973. The four years and 310 days between 4 November 2012 and 11 September 2017 would also be the longest gap between stints at No. 1.

Federer begins with young American Frances Tiafoe. The Swiss won their lone prior match-up, earlier this year in Miami, 7-6 (2), 6-3.

“It's an interesting first round. Clearly he has nothing to lose but everything to gain. It's a tough one, plus like you said, he's playing well. He's aggressive baseliner like so many of the Americans. Thankfully I played him in Miami this year so I have a little bit of an idea of how he plays, and his patterns and what he prefers to do and what not,” Federer said.

“At the end I'm going to try to focus on my own game like I usually do, play within myself that first round and make sure I make it tough for Frances to get through me, and hopefully get off a good start in the match. Excited to play on centre court for the first time with the proper structure and roof now. I missed it last year. I'm very excited playing here again.”

Date: 27 August 2017, Source: ATP


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