Home favorite Madison Keys could be the USA’s biggest hope for success at the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year, says WTA Legend Chris Evert.
“She won Stanford [the Bank of the West Classic],” said Evert in a conference call for ESPN, for whom she will be working as a pundit during the tournament. “Again, she hasn't been healthy for the last year and she's had some bad losses. When she's healthy, and the way she's currently playing, she definitely would be a threat to win the tournament.”
She praised the American’s powerful game – but also pointed out that there are plenty of contenders to win the title in Flushing Meadows.
“Right now [Garbiñe] Muguruza on paper is the favorite,” she said. “But as I said before, just don't count out a Madison Keys who has the power; don't count out [Karolina] Pliskova who enjoys playing in New York who reached the final last year; Caroline Wozniacki and other players, [Johanna] Konta, I don't know where she is with her game now. But there's like eight or ten players, I believe, that can win the US Open.”
A six-time winner in New York herself, Evert also had words of encouragement for former World No.1 Angelique Kerber, the defending champion, who has experienced some disappointing form in 2017.
“Do I think she can turn it around, yes, I do think she can turn it around,” she said. “I don't know if it's going to be at the US Open. But, listen, it's all mental with her - she's got the game. But she was playing with a lot more freedom and a lot more zip and a lot more confidence last year. But she does have the game if she can just not feel so tight in these matches and play with the freedom that we saw [in 2016].”