"Queue" for the final tournament of the year
The title of the first racket of the world among men following the results of the next Grand Slam tournament will traditionally not be played. Serb Novak Djokovic will remain the leader of the ATP rating for another two weeks, even if he loses all points for last year’s victory after the first round, and his closest pursuer Rafael Nadal will win his fourth title in New York.
The rating inaccessibility of the leading three is not disputed. Roger Federer is so ahead of Dominic Tim that he also will not fall below under any circumstances. Of course, Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have long secured themselves participation in the ATP Final tournament.
At the US Open, they can theoretically be joined by another tennis player. Dominic Tim, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will be awarded this honor if they win a debut victory on the courts of New York.
Djokovic in pursuit of history
In recent years, tennis fans are accustomed to the fact that Federer and Nadal remain the best players in terms of the number of titles won in tournaments of the Grand Slam series. The Swiss won 20 majors, and the Spaniard - 18. But soon their leadership may be violated. Djokovic is rapidly approaching them, obviously eager to rewrite history.
Serbian tennis player has won four of the last five Grand Slam tournaments and will compete for the 17th prestigious title in New York. Djokovic has never won the US Open twice in a row, but may try to do it now. Federer may turn out to be the first of the Big Three - the draw has sent them to one half of the tournament bracket. But Djokovic will not meet with Nadal before the finals.
The intrigues of the draw
The draw of the main draw of the US Open men's singles tournament gave fans some surprises. So, Nadal was in a company convenient for any tennis player, which will accompany him until the third round. Among his potential rivals to this stage are the 32nd seeded Fernando Verdasco, three qualification winners and two wild card holders. And the first rival of Nadal will be Australian John Millman, who beat Federer a year ago.
The Swiss tennis player will open the US Open - 2019 match with the Indian Sumit Nagal - his surname, consonant with Nadal, will probably become the object of jokes among fans more than once. In general, Federer was lucky with the net - on the way to the quarter-finals, David Goffen, seeded under the 15th number, should become his most dangerous opponent. Further, the five-time champion of the US Open can wait for Kei Nishikori.
If we determine the semi-final crops by rating, Federer must meet Djokovic, and Dominic Tim will wait for Nadal. The Austrian will start the tournament with a match against Italian Thomas Fabbiano, who was already making a sensation in the first round, when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas at Wimbledon.
Chance of Medvedev
One of the main favorites of the US Open after the "Big Three" will be Daniel Medvedev. Thanks to recent successes and a generally very stable season, he earned the fifth seeding number - this has not happened to Russian tennis players since 2008. It is interesting that even then Nadal, Federer and Djokovic led the rating.
Medvedev approached the US Open Championship as the leader of the ATP tour in terms of the number of victories in all tournaments - since January he has already won 43 matches in the main draws. A month ago, he was inferior in this indicator to many players, but then there were three consecutive finals in Washington, Montreal and Cincinnati. Just two defeats in the last 16 games on hard - this is more than a solid indicator before the US Open.
In this regard, there was talk that Medvedev could be the first Russian tennis player to win the Grand Slam tournament - for this you need to “only” win 21 sets in two weeks. However, many even before Medvedev approached majors with excellent statistics, but stumbled on someone from the Big Three. In the case of a 23-year-old Russian, one can carefully note that this is not such a big problem, at least from a psychological point of view. So, he has already dealt with Novak Djokovic twice this season.
It is with him that Medvedev can meet in the quarterfinals of the US Open. Up to this stage, Russians should not have dangerous rivals. In the first round, he will play with the Indian Prajnesh Gunnesvaran, and then meetings with seeded Fabio Fognini, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Taylor Fritz are possible.
Questions to Khachanov and Rublev
Speaking about the Russian representation in the men's singles tournament, it is worth noting that Medvedev will not be alone in the US Open. Once again, like a couple of seasons ago, other young hopes of Russian men's tennis - Karen Khachanov and Andrey Rublev, as well as Yevgeny Donskoy, who made his way through a sieve of qualification, will also appear with him.
Khachanov received the ninth seeding number, which is a personal record for him - at previous Grand Slam tournaments in 2019, he received the tenth number. But whether he will be able to live up to expectations at the US Open, the question is. Khachanov did not shine very much during the North American tour preceding the US Open. The victory in the quarterfinal of Montreal over Sasha Zverev and the strained success in the duel of the first round of Cincinnati with Nick Kiryos - that’s the whole track record of the Russian after Wimbledon.
The draw of Khachanov cannot be called successful. In the second round, he can get Jo-Wilfried Tsong, who lost his seeding, and then Diego Schwartzman, the 20th racket of the tournament. In case of successful development of events, the Russians will have to open the second week of the tournament either with Benoit Peer, or with the same Sasha Zverev.
However, like Medvedev, Khachanov has never moved far along the US Open tournament bracket. During the tournament, he will have to be distracted by personal news - in September he is expected to have a baby, and this event can both whip up the player and add excitement to the most crucial moment.
There may be questions of a different nature to Rublev - how great is his potential and how will it unfold in New York? After Wimbledon, the 21-year-old Russian has noticeably changed and almost returned to his high level, which he had before a series of serious injuries. Rublev reached the finals of the tournament in Hamburg, and his last achievement was a victory over Federer in Cincinnati. Rublev did not stop there and decided to spend the last week before the US Open in Winston-Salem, where he reached the quarter-finals.
Rublev has not yet reached the top of the ATP rating, but he is confidently striving for them. Of the eighth dozen Russians rose to 47th place. He did not earn preferences in the draw, so he will have to start in New York by a match with Stefanos Tsitsipas, and matches with Nick Kirios and Roberto Bautista-Agut are possible before the quarter-finals. For the first Grand Slam tournament after a full recovery, this is a very dangerous set of rivals.