Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal could miss this year’s US Open, which is due to start later this month. Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 means he is currently unable to enter the United States, while Nadal is struggling with an injury and has not played since withdrawing from Wimbledon this summer before his semi-final with Nick Kyrgios. If Djokovic and Nadal are absent from Flushing Meadows, Kyrios could imagine his chances of lifting the trophy. And Express Sport takes a look at five US Open title contenders, including the Australian.
Kyrgios is perhaps best known in the tennis world for his outbursts on the court and made plenty of friends and foes in the Wimbledon crowd earlier this summer with his outgoing demeanor. The 27-year-old had never gone beyond a Grand Slam quarter-final before his run at the All England Club but took the opportunity to show what he could do.
Kyrgios doesn’t have the best record at the US Open as he never made it past the third round and lost half of his matches there. But he has huge serve and might now possess a newfound belief that he can compete with the best in the world. And if he can control his emotions, he just might have another solid run.
Daniil Medvedev is still a huge threat at Flushing Meadows and won the title last year by knocking out Djokovic in the final in style. Djokovic was the heavy favorite to win the showpiece event as he aimed to get his hands on all four Grand Slams in the same calendar year. But Medvedev beat his rival in straight sets.
The Russian also reached the US Open final in 2019 and the semi-finals in 2020, so he certainly knows his way around the court in New York. And after being banned from Wimbledon along with other Russian and Belarus players, the 26-year-old may be hungrier for success than ever.
Carlos Alcaraz is arguably the best young player in world tennis right now and has been tipped to achieve great things in the sport. The 19-year-old reached the quarter-finals of the US Open in his first appearance in New York last year and has since won a string of ATP Masters titles.
The Spaniard won the Miami Open title on hard court in April but will need to show he has what it takes to do the trick over five sets on the biggest stage of them all if he wants to clinch his first-ever Grand Slam next month.
Another up-and-coming tennis superstar is Jannik Sinner. The 20-year-old Italian nearly knocked Djokovic out of Wimbledon after taking a two-set lead against the eventual champion in their quarter-final showdown. Sinner, who won the Croatia Open late last month after beating Alcaraz in the final, has already shown he has the right mentality to play in a Grand Slam and his experience at Wimbledon could well pave the way for success at the US Open.
Dominic Thiem has struggled with form recently and could be overlooked by many as a potential champion. He struggled with injuries last year and fell to No. 172 in the world. But the Austrian had a few wins to his name throughout July and won the title at Flushing Meadows two years ago. Thus, he could imagine his chances of going all the way.
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