Age 27, Serbia
No. 1 seed
Novak Djokovic's 2-2 match record on hardcourt this summer, and his admission that he “just doesn’t feel comfortable” on court lately, might seem to make the reigning Wimbledon champ slightly vulnerable. His results argue otherwise: Djokovic has advanced to 12 of the last 16 Grand Slam championship finals, winning six.
Age 33, Switzerland
No. 2 seed
Roger Federer's major nemisis, Rafael Nadal, is absent with a bad wrist, and five-time Open champ Federer — though without a Slam title since 2012 Wimbledon — has shown a sharp, aggressive game this summer. Also, his half of the Open draw is more favorable than Djokovic’s path to another final.
Age 29, Switzerland
No. 3 seed
Stanislas Wawrinka's first major-tournament title in January’s Australian Open appeared to be a significant breakthrough, reinforcing his push to the semifinals in last year’s U.S. Open. But since the Australian, Wawrinka has won only one of 10 tournaments and hasn’t appeared particularly threatening.
Age 32, Spain
No. 4 seed
Always, always a handful for any elite player, David Ferrer is gritty and persistent and has resided in the Top 10 most of the last eight years. But in 47 career Grand Slam tournaments, he has reached the championship final only once, a loss to compatriot Nadal at the 2013 French Open.
Age 23, Canada
No. 5 seed
Milos Raonic broke into the Top 10 for the first time a year ago, made his first Slam semifinal this summer at Wimbledon (a loss to Federer) and now has risen to a career-high No. 6. His bazooka serve (which has hit 155 mph) is trouble enough, and he is diversifying his game.
Age 23, Bulgaria
No. 7 seed
Another steadily advancing young player at his career high ranking (No. 8), Grigor Dimitrov this year has pushed to the Australian quarterfinals (a loss to Nadal) and the Wimbledon semis (a loss to Djokovic). He appears to have a reasonable shot at the Open quarters, possibly against Federer.
Age 27, Great Britain
No. 8 seed
The 2012 Open and 2013 Wimbledon champ, Andy Murray is back on tour after back surgery last fall, has not won any of his 13 tournaments this year and said that he “needs to get back that winning mentality.” But his 2014 Grand Slam results aren’t too shabby: Two quarterfinals and a semifinal.
Age 29, France
No. 9 seed
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s best news was winning the Toronto tournament earlier this month with consecutive victories over Top 10 players Djokovic, Murray, Dimitrov and Federer. Minus his six wins in Toronto, though, Tsonga has a fairly ordinary 24-14 match record this year.
Age 29, United States
No. 13 seed
John Isner Grand Slam high point remains an advance to the 2011 U.S. Open quarterfinals — if one doesn’t count that 2010 first-round Wimbledon match, which Isner won over France’s Nicolas Mahut, that took 11 hours and five minutes over three days, with a final score of 6–4, 3–6, 6–7 (7), 7–6 (3), 70–68.
Age 18, Rockville Centre
This is the amateur Noah Rubin’s first appearance in a Grand Slam main draw, via a wild card based on the national junior title he won at Kalamazoo, Michigan, earlier this month. John McEnroe, at whose Randalls Island academy Rubin trains, said Rubin is “learning what he can and can’t do.”