With Novak Djokovic out of the Cincinnati Masters due to a ‘recurring wrist injury’, Olympic gold medalist Andy Murray is top seed in the competition this week. It is impressive he has made the flight north so quick after the exhausting final with Juan Martin del Porto. The image of a first class cabin on a plane with a saline drip comes to mind.
After Del Potro’s heroic efforts in Rio its a shame he does not gain any ranking points and stays at 141 in the world. He does take away an Olympic silver medal and no number of points will even take that from away from him.
Djokovic was visibly upset at the Olympics in Rio last week, having lost in straight sets to Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro, the 29-year-old now joins the current holder Roger Federer on the treatment table. We look at Djokovic in detail in one of our next articles on this blog
Murray will have his coach Ivan Lendl back at his side in Cincinnati and if Murray’s legendary fitness proves itself he is the contender to go the distance, even with the unexpected inclusion of Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka in the line-up. Then there is the ranking points to consider – a 6000 point gap between no 1 and 2 presently – stranger things have happened!
In the women’s game, Serena Williams is out following the Olympics, she had confirmed that she will play in Cincinnati but pulled out after a practice session. Again looking at the ranking (Serena 184 weeks at no 1) , a 3500 points difference between her and Kerber could be closed this week.
The top-ranked players tend to use the Cincinnati Masters as a platform to build momentum for the US open. The Olympics has somewhat scuppered the schedules of some star names this summer, although the unexpected recovery of Nadal and Wawrinka from injury is a big boost for the tournament.
We can certainly expect a spirited contest, building on the excitement of the Olympics, and Murray will be looking to extend his 18-match unbeaten run.