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U.S. Open: Can Novak Djokovic rise above Nadal, Federer?

Novak Djokovic

 Novak Djokovic Credit: Macy's

Novak Djokovic is the biggest of Big Three of men's tennis right now, having won the Australian Open and Wimbledon this season and one other ATP title. He fought off match points in the fifth set against Roger Federer at Wimbledon, solidifying his status as the greatest defensive player of all time. He lost last week in the semifinals at Cincinnati to Daniil Medvedev ( more on him later). Djokovic is the No. 1 seed, the defending Open champ and a clear favorite as he goes for the second three-Slam season of his career. 

Others to watch:

Rafael Nadal

Nadal won the French Open. So what else is new? He beat Djokovic in the final at Rome, but surprisingly didn’t win another clay court tournament. But he did win on the hardcourt at Montreal two weeks ago over Daniil Medvedev. Deciding to rest his hard-worn 33-year-old body he pulled out of Cincinnati last week to rest for the Open. He’s likely to go deep into the second week, but does the No. 2 seed have enough stamina now to make it to the end on a tricky knees?

Roger Federer

The Fed Express is 38 years old now and still humming along, having won three times this season. But holding two match points against Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, he lost them and eventually the match. It was crushing at the time, but this is the sport’s all-time great so he can’t be ruled out at Flushing Meadows, where stunningly he has not won since 2008. The last of his 20 record major victories was at the Australian in 2018. He rather woefully lost in the second round to Andrey Rublev in Cincinnati recently, but what the heck, the time off might do him good.

Daniil Medvedev

If there ever was a player riding a tidal wave of momentum, it’s Medvedev, the 23-year-old Russian who is definitely one of the game’s bright lights. He defeated Novak Djokovic in the semis at Cincinnati and beat David Goffin in the final. The week before that he lost to Rafa Nadal in the final at Montreal. The week before that he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the final at Washington. He’s jumped up to No. 5 in the world and will be extremely dangerous during this fortnight.

Alexander Zverev

There is no doubt that 22-year-old  Zverev has enormous talent. But when will it all come together in a Grand Slam? He’s never made it past the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam, and the third round is his best at the Open. But at 6-6 with a big wingspan, big serve and big strides for court coverage, he should be built for Flushing Meadows. There have been off-court issues with his agent and with his coach Ivan Lendl. If things have reconciled, the No. 6 player in the world could be on the upswing

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