Plethora of contenders at the Open

Barring any last minute dropouts, this year's U.S. Open features the deepest field of any major of the season.

Updated: August 29, 2004, 1:24 PM ET
By Pam Shriver |
With the exception of Kim Clijsters, this year's U.S. Open features the strongest field of any major held this season.

Coming into the Open the story of the summer has been No. 5 seed Lindsay Davenport's amazing play in the hard-court season. She easily won the U.S. Open series, but despite her success two things stop her from being the big favorite at the Open. First, she has the toughest draw of any top seed in the tournament. If she makes it to the round of 16 she may end up facing No. 11 seed Venus Williams. Then if she defeats Williams she'll be rewarded by probably having to face No. 4 Anastasia Myskina and then finally Serena Williams in the final.

Lindsay Davenport
U.S. Open No. 5 seed Lindsay Davenport dominated the U.S. Open series.

In any other year Davenport would have a higher ranking than Serena, but this season the WTA gave Serena an injury protection on her ranking that hasn't yet run out. The second reason Davenport isn't a big favorite is her physical fragility. She hasn't been the healthiest on tour in a few years and she just underwent a grueling schedule this summer. Hopefully, for her sake, she has enough in her to last the two weeks of this major.

Pam Shriver

Tennis analyst
A top player on the women's tennis tour for more than 15 years, Pam Shriver is an analyst and reporter for ESPN's tennis telecasts, including the network's exclusive coverage of all four Grand Slam events.