With the 2021 tennis calendar now ending, it is time to look ahead to matters in 2022 and although the first port of call for many, will be the upcoming Australian Open, it will not be the case for Novak Djokovic.
As the Serbian has constantly made public of the fact that he is unwilling to take on a COVID-19 vaccine, it means that he will be unable to compete in the first Grand Slam of the year and this will be a shame for both he and tennis fans all over the world.
Because a Djokovic in full flight is one of the greatest sights in sport let alone tennis and although he will be deprived of taking to the courts in Australia, that is not necessarily the case when it comes to the 2022 US Open.
Although it is too early to know the full entrants list, you can be certain that as long as restrictions do not stop him from doing so, last year’s Men’s Singles runner-up will be looking to go one better in 2022.
That’s because in the 2021 edition of the final, it was the Serbian ace going up against Dannii Medvedev and although many bettors would have placed the 34-year-old to win on their betting slip, they actually ended up making the wrong decision.
One that certainly stunned the tennis world, as Medvedev won in straight sets and although each set was a close contest, the fact that the Russian won three in a row, was something of a considerable upset.
Then again, it would be unfair to denigrate the 2021 US Open winner’s talents and with the Russian being given second seed in the tournament draw, the fact that he reached the final should come as no surprise.
It was the manner in which he earned a first ever Grand Slam victory, that was the upset and after suffering defeat to Rafael Nadal during the 2019 final, the 25-year-old has finally scaled tennis’ highest mountain.
While such a win has suggested that the sport’s next generation is one that is not just for the future but very much now and with both age and injuries starting to catch up on those competing in the golden age of the game, it is time for Medvedev and his cohorts to take advantage.
As long as the Moscow-born player can stay fit and healthy for 2022, he will certainly be one of the favourites to come out on top next year and when the outright market opens nearer the time, his odds of overall victory will be rather short.
Of course, one cannot rule out the man he got the better off in September and although Djokovic was deprived of a clean sweep of Grand Slam victories in 2021, that will not put him off attempting another US Open victory in 2022.
These two will not be the only protagonists in the quest for success at Flushing Meadows and if Rafael Nadal can regain full fitness, he will also consider himself in the running to return to winning ways.
Not to mention, one of the other pillars of tennis in the past couple of decades and although Roger Federer is not getting any younger, he is still more than capable of pulling out match winning performances when it matters.
Whether the same can be said of Andy Murray remains to be seen and with a constant struggle against injury being one that he is losing more and more often, it will be difficult to see whether the Brit can ever repeat his own success at Flushing Meadows.
With 128 entrants in the first-round draw, the potential for drama is often high and although we do not know the makeup of the 2022 entry list just yet, it is fair to say that whoever takes part, will be able to create sporting drama of their own.