Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — World No. 2 Andy Murray pulled out of the US Open on Saturday, citing his ongoing hip problem as the reason.
“It’s too sore for me to win the tournament and that’s what ultimately I’m here to do,” Murray said two days before the tournament is to begin Monday. “Unfortunately, I won’t be playing here this year.”
Murray, the 2013 US Open champ, joins a growing list of high-profile names out of the tournament due to injury. No. 4 Stan Wawrinka, the defending US Open champ, No. 5 Novak Djokovic, No. 10 Kei Nishikori and No. 11 Milos Raonic all announced they wouldn’t play before the tournament began.
Per Grand Slam rules, No. 5 seed and 2014 US Open champ Marin Cilic takes Murray’s position in the draw, setting up a possible semifinal with No. 4 Alexander Zverev instead of the quarterfinal matchup they had been positioned for.
Grand Slam rules prohibit the Open from moving No. 3 seed Roger Federer into Murray’s spot, which would have set up the potential for a dream final between five-time champion Federer and No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who is seeking his third Open crown. If Murray had pulled out before Friday’s draw, Federer would have been moved to the No. 2 seed.
“It’s obviously Roger and Rafa are the biggest favorites still,” Zverev said before Murray’s announcement. “I think how the year has been going, they are still on top of everyone. But, you know, I’m just going to go match by match and hopefully I can get to those guys.”
The draw now obviously opens up big time for the 6-foot-6 Zverev, 20, to reach his first Grand Slam final, although Cilic reached the Wimbledon final this year and previously won the Open.
“I played great on the hard courts so far, won two tournaments, Montreal and Washington back to back, which are two huge events,” Zverev said. “I felt like I could compete and beat anyone during this period of time.”
Murray, 30, said the hip has been bothering him since the French Open earlier this year.
NEW YORK — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal can’t meet in a dream final at the US Open, but the two longtime rivals have very different feelings about a potential semifinal showdown in two weeks.
“I’d love to play Rafa here in New York,” Federer, the five-time US Open champion who last won here in 2008, said on Saturday. “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.
“I don’t think we are both thinking that far ahead. I’m sure it will be a nice prospect.”
Nadal, on the other hand, said he hopes it doesn’t happen.
“If I am in semifinals, no,” said Nadal, who won here in 2010 and ’13. “I prefer to play against another one. Is obvious, no? I am not that way. Sounds very good, but the real thing, I prefer to play against another player, an easier one if it’s possible.