U.S. Open Tennis Draw: Rafael Nadal's Absence Shakes Things Up

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 23: Mardy Fish of USA plays a forehand during the men's singles first round match between Mardy Fish of USA and Ricardo Mello of Brazil on day two of the French Open at Roland Garros on May 23, 2011 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The absence of one of the Big Three could create an opportunity for more unheralded players like Boca Raton's Mardy Fish.

Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have won 29 of the last 30 majors, a jaw-dropping streak that goes all back all the way to 2005.

However, there's a small ray of light for the rest of the field at the 2012 U.S. Open. Nadal had to withdraw due to a knee injury, which means there are two draws where no one has to play one of the Big Three until the semi-finals.

Mardy Fish, a 30-year old from the Boca Raton area who has emerged late in his career to become one of the best American players, will have his hands full. He is looking at a third-round meeting with Federer.

On the women's side, all eyes will be on Serena Williams, who is coming off dominating wins at both Wimbledon and the London Olympics.

And while the men's side has become as top-heavy as any point in the sport's history, the women's game has seen an almost unprecedented amount of parity, so there's no telling who could emerge as Serena's biggest threat in Flushing Meadows.

For more coverage of Williams, Fish and the rest of the Florida contingent at the US Open, stay tuned to SB Nation Tampa Bay as well as SBNation's tennis hub.

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