With the curtain closed on another summer at Wimbledon, tennis fans can prepare for the next major of the year — the US Open. It’s been an exciting year for the sport, with fans back in full attendance for the first time consistently since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s already plenty to unpack since the last time anyone took to the court in New York last September.
Daniil Medvedev stunned Novak Djokovic at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre to win the title, despite the Serbian touted as the favourite in the online betting, and although the Russian was absent from Wimbledon, he’ll have more than enough opportunity to retain his title and pick up a second Grand Slam.
Of course, this is a major and there will be a plethora of talented players all eager to snatch Medvedev’s crown, and with the unpredictability of a big tournament, anything is possible. With that in mind, read on as we take a look at three names you should keep an eye on ahead of this year’s US Open.
Despite a valiant effort at Wimbledon, Nick Kyrgios was unable to overcome the might of Djokovic on the biggest occasion. The Australian, who earned a reputation as a bit of a show boater but as someone who can also lose his head at the slightest inconvenience, will be relishing the opportunity to play in front of the boisterous American crowd, and will have even more confidence given his exploits in London.
At 27, Kyrgios has plenty of time to capture that maiden Grand Slam and having ended his long title drought by winning the Citi Open in Washington, he certainly has an outside chance of reaching the latter stages of another major. His victory over Yoshihito Nishioka was calmness personified and if he can replicate that level of flair but maintain his composure at the final hurdle, it might be worth backing the Australian.
Had injuries not been a thing, you wonder how far Rafael Nadal could have pulled ahead of Djokovic in terms of Grand Slams. The Spaniard, who has spent the best part of two years sidelined by a succession of hip, joint and knee injuries, made it to the semi-finals of Wimbledon, but was forced to exit the competition prematurely when his body simply gave up on him. Riding the crest of a wave from his victory in Roland Garros, it would have been interesting to see how he would have fared against Kyrgios, but injuries simply took their toll, and now many are wondering if he will withdraw from the US open. If he does take to the hardcourt expect the ‘King of Clay’ to give his all and go as far as his body will let him.
Something of a new kid on the block, we have no doubt Carlos Alcaraz will look back on his career with a wealth of accolades, with the athletic Spaniard one of the best up and comers in modern tennis. The 19-year-old, who is still yet to reach the final of a Grand Slam, rose to prominence when he beat world number two Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open, and while he is still relatively inexperienced, his win in the Spanish capital has demonstrated he’s ready to mix it with the big boys. He’s not as much of an outsider as last year when he reached a quarter-final cut short by injury, and his style is difficult to play against and will catch plenty of players off guard if they underestimate the Murcian.