Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 2 of the 2020 US Open.
The question was fairly straightforward—and so should be the answer to it.
In the middle of the fourth set of Taylor Fritz’s first round match against Dominik Koepfer, a match the American would go on to win by the score of 6-7(7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, television commentators wondered whether this year’s US Open should come with an asterisk or, like, something? Click here.
Look, we get it. Commentating a live tennis match is a difficult venture for anyone mainly because of all the downtime: it’s fine and fun to explain what you’ve all witnessed during and after a point, but the challenge comes between games. You need to talk about something after all, otherwise you’re stuck giving viewers watching at home the impression that they’ve muted their television—and no one likes the silent treatment.
You need to speak, is what we’re getting at, and at that time yesterday the commentator decided to think out loud and ask his colleagues about a potential asterisk. One of the said colleagues kind of hedged his bet in his answer but we’re here to right the ship: absolutely not should there be any asterisk. If, say, Gilles Simon and Anna-Lena Friedsam win the 2020 US Open titles, they’ll have won it fair and square. Global pandemic or not, tennis bubble or not, a Grand Slam title does and should count the same every time.
That said, here are three matches from day two that we’ll keep a close eye on.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Andy Murray vs Yoshihito Nishoka (12pm start)
Remember when our friend Andy Murray was a force in men’s tennis? It’s been quite a ride since Halloween 2017 for the three-time-Grand-Slam champion, a period where he’s seen his ranking plummet as low as No. 839 and where he’s actually announced his pending retirement from the sport (a retirement that did not come to fruition).
Against all odds, the 33-year-old is somehow still competing on the biggest stage of the sport. We couldn’t be happier for him.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Serena Williams  vs Kristie Ahn (2nd day match)
Will this year’s edition of the US Open finally be the one to bring Serena Williams level with Margaret Court atop the Grand Slam titles career list? The quest for major No. 24 starts today with a match against Kristie Ahn.
Williams remains a formidable foe in women’s tennis but her performances in this (admittedly weird and disjointed) season gives little reason for optimism: except for the January ASB Classic where she didn’t play anyone ranked higher than No. 25 and won the title, Williams hasn’t yet won three matches at the same tournament.
That’s not exactly good.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Daniil Medvedev  vs Federico Delbonis (2nd night match)
A year ago, Daniil Medvedev was so great at playing the biggest heel in the tennis world for the most rabid fanbase of the tennis world that ultimately everyone rallied around him.
Tragically, the Russian won’t get to feed off the crowd’s energy this year in Flushing Meadows but we’ll be egging him off all match long from our couch. It’s the minimum we can do.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG