Unbelievably, we are already at the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year! Despite three of the four Grand Slams having already been won, there is one grand prize left to fight for. In a year that held the prospects of a generational shift, the old guard still wont budge.
The final Grand Slam is upon us, and it arrives at a very interesting stage of the tennis season. Unlike the Australian Open, which introduces the tour, or the French Open and Wimbledon that come in the years mid-swing, the US Open comes as the season begins winding down.
Nevertheless, the hunger amongst players to win the tournament is still ripe and ready. There are three main contenders at this year’s US Open (three guesses who they are) but that doesn’t mean their victory is inevitable.
This article will break down who are arguably the top 5 contenders for the US Open, ranked in order of who is most likely to win.
#5 Daniil Medvedev
At number five is the young Russian giant. After his first Masters victory in Cincinnati, Medvedev will be brimming with confidence. Not only did he win a Masters, but beat Djokovic en route.
This will have a huge mental boost for the Russian, as he has his first “big title” under his belt. Despite never going past the fourth round at a Grand Slam, this years US Open seems like the perfect place to do so.
So long as he stays focused and consistent, he can threaten anybody. Although the NextGen continue to make baby steps in their quest for tennis dominance, it is coming.
#4 Dominic Thiem
Picking the top three favourites is always easy. But anything after that is more difficult. The increasingly frustrating NextGen remain unable to dethrone the big three. And, have no player leading the charge to do so.
Whenever there has been a glimmer of this occurring, it usually peters out by the quarter finals. However, number four goes to Austria’s Dominic Thiem.
Thiem is arguably the only player who challenges the big three properly at Grand Slams. This largely happens at the French Open. Nevertheless, his victory over Djokovic last June show he has the experience and mentally to do so elsewhere too.
Although Thiem isn’t perhaps as talented as other NextGen players, he is mentally tougher and for that, and his experience of beating the big three, fourth seems fair.
#3 Roger Federer
Federer excruciatingly lost the Wimbledon final to Djokovic in July. Had he won, he may have been favourite to win in New York. However, he didn’t. And because of that he is third favourite.
He had a poor outing at Cincinnati, losing in the early stages. This mean his preparation has been limited. Furthermore, he plays it cool, but in all likeliness he is still hurting.
This mental toll and insecurity could play a big factor for him, in a tournament which he has failed to reach the semis in the last two years.
#2 Rafael Nadal
Nadal goes in as second favourite. Whilst this was a toss up between Federer and him, the draw pushes Nadal ahead. To no fault of his own, Rafa wont have to face his big three rivals until the final.
This means that his route to the final becomes a lot more simple. Nevertheless, Nadal has been prone to upsets, especially to big hitters. However, his recent record in New York has been good and that will be a confidence boost for him.
With all of this considered second favourite to win seems like a safe beat for the Spaniard, who may fancy his chances this year.
#1 Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic’s downfall in 2017 seems like it almost didn’t happen, and since last year he has dominated the tennis world with little error. He won the Australian Open in January, and somehow won Wimbledon this summer, despite being match points down in the final.
The Serb may have lost to Medvedev in Cincinnati, but that was merely a minor hiccup in his preparation for a title defence.
Djokovic goes in as the clear favourite to win the title. Nevertheless, he may have to beat both Nadal and Federer to do it. If the courts are slow it will serve him an insurmountable advantage, and judging by recent years, they will be.
Main Photo from Getty.