The last time tennis celebrated a major champion was six months ago, down under at the Australian Open in January. Finally, the Slams are back in the spotlight as the 2020 US Open prepares to launch its first serve on Monday.
This year, the #TeamSoCal roster spans generations as Tour veterans share the stage with fresh new faces destined to make their mark on the global tennis stage, including two of Southern California’s most accomplished names premiering in the Open main draw.
At 16 years old, Katrina Scott (Woodland Hills) is one year removed from upsetting the top seed at the 2019 Junior US Open. A month later, Scott helped Team USA to its third consecutive Junior Fed Cup title. This week in New York, the SoCal junior standout continues her early ascent as a professional as a late wild card in the Open main draw. She meets WTA #130 Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the opening round.
San Diego’s Brandon Nakashima has already made quick strides on the men’s circuit, bolstered by a notable performance spanning three weeks at the World TeamTennis competition in West Virginia this summer. At 19, Nakashima is highly touted as an up and coming force in American tennis. His first round match with ATP #123 Paolo Lorenzi will be Nakashima’s first test in a Grand Slam main draw.
Serena Williams will be the unquestionable headliner heading into the Open, with a record-tying major title at the tip of her fingers. Chasing Margaret Court’s all-time mark will be a chore, though, as the global talent pool of women’s players continues to strengthen. The top two players in the world, Ash Barty and Simona Halep, are absent from New York, perhaps paving a slightly more efficient route for Williams to earn her 24th Slam.
WTA Lexington champion Jennifer Brady, a UCLA Bruin alum, returns to action after a quick exit from the Western & Southern Open. She meets WTA #62 Anna Blinkova in the opening round, while two-time champion Venus Williams hopes to reach her first US Open final since 2002.
Taylor Fritz (Rancho Palos Verdes) reached a career-high world #22 on the ATP Tour in March after reaching the Acapulco final against eventual winner Rafael Nadal. But that journey was highlighted by wins over John Isner and Kyle Edmond, and positioned Fritz for a strong summer stretch before COVID struck. Fritz will look to regain that form when he meets ATP #91 Dominik Koepfer in the first round.
Marcos Giron (Thousand Oaks) drawsatp #119 Marc Polmans in his opening match at Flushing Meadows following a career milestone last week, when Giron hurdled into the Top 100 for the first time in his young career. The UCLA Bruin and former NCAA champion earned main draw standing at last year’s Open and Wimbledon, departing the first round of both.
Other names in Men’s action include perennial SoCal favorites Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson, more UCLA alums in Mackie McDonald and Max Cressy, and Poway’s Bradley Klahn.
Our US Open doubles and wheelchair previews are still to come!