We’re back at Flushing Meadows as Novak Djokovic looks to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Grand-Slam titles in the same calendar year, and he’ll never have a better chance to do so. Defending champion Dominic Thiem has withdrawn through injury after a tumultuous year in the sport, while Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are also absentees making Nole the odds-on favourite. That’s not the only record the Serbian would break by winning this, as he’s currently one of three players on 20 Grand Slam wins, with no one ever having won more. Get into the Flushing Meadows action with our preview for the men's draw for the US Open
Number One seeds have made at least the quarters in 17 of the last 19 competitions, the semis in 16 and claimed the title in eight. The exceptions were 4th round walkovers over Djokovic in the past two years.
59/62 finalists since 1990 have been seeded, with 53 being in the top 10 and 48 in the top six.
26/31 winners have been in the top-six seeds.
US Open Contenders
It’s very difficult to look past Novak Djokovic for this one with the form he’s shown this year and what’s at stake for the Serb, and his record here isn’t exactly poor either.
He’s won 26 of his last 27 completed matches in this competition going back to a 2014 semi-final defeat to Kei Nishikori, while he’s won each of his last 34 completed games in hard-court grand slams.
That should be taken with a pinch of salt, however, as he went off with a ‘shoulder complaint’ after being two sets down to Stan Wawrinka in 2019, while he was defaulted in the fourth-round last year for hitting a lines-judge with a ball after losing a point.
Those seem like isolated incidents, however, and he’s odds on here for good reason. He’s won 39 of 44 matches this calendar year, with three of those defeats coming during the clay court season.
The only hesitancy is the fact that the other two defeats this year have come in his last two matches in the Olympic semi-final and bronze medal matches.
His hard-court recent record isn’t as exceptional as you might think, losing five times in his last 23 matches since this competition last year, though if he’s even remotely up for this, there aren’t many here that can topple Nole.
Daniil Medvedev follows Djokovic in the betting and it’s easy to see why. The Russian thrives on hard court and looks to be going from strength to strength on the surface, reaching the semi-final here last year.
He followed that with a couple of poor showings in St Petersburg and Vienna, before going on to reach five of his next six Hard Court finals, winning four and losing only to Djokovic at the Australian Open.
He comes into this off the back of the Rogers Cup title and a semi at Cincinnati. Being second seed he won’t meet Djokovic until the final should they both get that far, while he’s won three of the last five meetings between them, so the Russian may be worth getting behind as he becomes a regular Grand Slam finalist.
Stefanos Tsitsipas comes in as the third seed, though it’s difficult to feel confident about his chances. A final appearance at Roland Garros is nothing to be sniffed at, though he doesn’t quite cut the mustard when back on the hard surface.
Indeed, his last title on hard-court came back in February of last year, reaching just two of 15 finals since and winning just 37 of his 52 matches. He’s never reached a hard-court Grand Slam final and hasn’t made it past the third round here.
He’ll have to weave his way past the world’s best here, and considering he’s won just four of his last 13 hard-court matches against top-10 players, including each of his last four, we’ll look elsewhere here.
The last two of those Tsitsipas defeats came against Alex Zverev, and the German comes into this as many people’s picks to see off Djokovic and it’s hard to argue with his credentials.
He fits the key stats mould by being fourth seed, while he comes into this having just taken both the Olympic title and the Western & Southern Open in Cincy, losing just two of 24 sets in the process which came against Tsitsipas and Djokovic.
He’s claimed the title in three of his last four hard-court events and will be determined to add a Grand Slam to his collection having agonisingly lost in the final here last year to Dominic Thiem.
He’s won his last four on this surface against top-10 players, so he’ll be full of confidence and worth getting behind.
Matteo Berrettini has had a good year, reaching the Wimbledon final having taken the Queens title, though obviously those two events are played on grass and his credentials here don’t set the pulses racing.
He went out early in Cincy heading into this, and although he reached the semis here two years ago, he’s failed to follow that up at either the Aussie Open or here, losing in the fourth round in the last renewal to Andrey Rublev.
The Russian is definitely biting at the heels of the top players in the game, though he’s lost 11 of his last 17 hard court outings to top-10 players.
He’ll certainly put his hat in the ring here and be a dangerous opponent for any, though the title looks just beyond him at this stage in his career.
Finally, Pablo Carreno-Busta is looking in dangerous form at the moment. Since Wimbledon, he took the title in Hamburg before going on and achieving Olympic Bronze for Spain, defeating Djokovic to take that medal.
He lost to Medvedev in Cincy and understandably had one eye on this event when playing in the Winston-Salem Open this week.
He reached the semis here last year, even if he was lucky in Djokovic’s default, though he’s not exited before the third round at either Grand Slam on this surface since 2018 and a favourable draw could see him go deep.