By Richard Kent
NEW YORK — Let’s start by stating that the U.S. Open is the greatest and best-run sporting event in the world. Few would question that conclusion.
There were a couple of issues which have come up to date in this year’s Open, which need to be addressed.
First, the top half of the men’s draw is top heavy, with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Grigor Dimitrov.
The bottom half, which once had top-seeded Andy Murray in it now boasts as its top players, Alexander Zverev, an individual who has never made it to a Grand Slam final, an injured Marin Cilic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, whose best singles performance ever at the Open was as a quarterfinalist.
The logical interpretation would have been to move Federer, now the second seed down to the bottom half after Murray dropped out due to injury on Saturday, but that didn’t happen.
Instead, Cilic was moved up.
Such a modification may make for a great semifinal match on September 8, with Nadal-Federer playing for the first time at the Open, but could create a scenario in which the final is purely hyped and not well contested.
Also, former Open Champion, Maria Sharapova was given a wild card into the event after a 15-month suspension. It was certainly fair that she was given a wild card, but it was unfair to the top players that she was not seeded.
That bore fruit as her opening match was contested against no 2 seed Simone Halep. It was an exciting 3-setter, won by Sharapova before the largest opening night crowd in US Open history, but Halep, now 0-7 in her career against Sharapova was the big loser.
She deserved a better fate than playing a former Champion in the opening round.