Novak Djokovic’s Chances at the US Open

AP/Seth Wenig, file

Novak Djokovic’s Chances at the US Open

Like Naomi Osaka, the best hard-court player on the men’s side crashed out of the Olympics and left Tokyo without a medal. With little preparation but a whole lot of confidence, Novak will now head to the US Open to attempt to win a calendar-year Grand Slam. Winning the US Open would not only give Novak the Grand Slam but also allow him to surpass both Federer and Nadal with 21 Grand Slam titles. He would then be crowned the undisputed greatest tennis player of all time.

Will the lack of preparation hurt him though? Most experts don’t seem to think so. They point towards his excellent fitness and experience as enough to get him through early-round matches. Then by the time he gets into the second week, he’ll well in the rhythm of the tournament and ready to play the higher seeds.

This plan will work to perfection unless he draws a tough player that is not seeded in the draw. There will be some solid players that are lurking in the draw who will not be seeded either because they are coming back from injury or have not played that much tennis since the pandemic. One of those players is Nick Kyrgios. The last person Novak will want to see in the early rounds is Nick’s wonderful groundstrokes and powerful serve. Someone like Nick Kyrgios would also be backed by the crazy New York fans.

Two other unseeded players that will be dangerous in the draw will be Sebastian Korda and Kei Nishikori. Korda has been steadily rising in the rankings and captured his first ATP tournament in Parma this year. He started the year outside the top 100, and now finds himself at 45 in the world. His smooth game and relentless focus should worry any seed early on.

Kei Nishikori, a former top 10 player and 2014 US Open finalist is no stranger to big-time matches. He famously took down Djokovic at the 2014 US Open semifinal. Although Nishikori holds a losing record against Djokovic, he is still someone Djokovic will not want to face in the early rounds.

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