The discussion making the headlines ahead of the 2023 US Open may sound pretty familiar: Who’s back? Who’s not?
Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek are back to defend their men’s and women’s titles, respectively. Alcaraz’s hold on the No. 1 men’s ranking is looking tenuous after he lost the Cincinnati Open finals to the same man he bested for the Wimbledon title: Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic, meanwhile, is back at the US Open, after missing last year’s competition because he wasn’t vaccinated against Covid-19.
In the women’s competition, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff will lead the American charge after tournament-winning runs in their respective lead ups to their home Grand Slam.
Two-time runner-up Caroline Wozniacki will be competing in New York for the first time since 2019 as she continues her comeback to the game. At 43, Venus Williams has a wild card and will be playing her home Slam for the 24th time.
Rafael Nadal, unfortunately, is not back. The winner of the 2019 men’s title is still recovering from injury. Speculation continues to swirl over his future in the game, amid indications that 2024 may be his final year on the circuit. That could be an interesting sideplot to follow as the 2023 US Open gets underway.
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Key facts about the US Open 2023
What? The 2023 US Open
This will be the 143rd edition of the US Open. The final tennis Grand Slam of the year will pay out prize money of $65 million in 2023, an all-time high, and 8% higher than 2022’s total. The men’s and women’s champions will each pocket $3 million.
Where? USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York, US
This 22-court facility in Flushing Meadows, Queens has hosted every US Open since 1978.
When? Monday 28th August – Sunday 10th September
US Open 2023 Favorites
It’s basically a two-horse race between Alcaraz and Djokovic, who get the chance to renew hostilities after their epic five-setter during the Wimbledon final and equally epic three-setter in Cincinnati. You could separate their US Open title odds with the gloss from an ant’s tooth. There’s a lot of daylight before you get to Daniil Medvedev and the other outside chances.
- Novak Djokovic (2.2/+120)
The Serbian’s Cincinnati win pushed him past Alcaraz as the bookie’s favorite for the US Open, where Djokovic will be looking to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles.
Alcaraz denied him at Wimbledon. At 36, can Djokovic now find an extra gear to lift him past the Spaniard? He found it in Cincinnati, overcoming sweltering heat to best his young rival in the ATP’s longest three-set final since at least 1990.
Djokovic was barred from the US last year because he was unvaccinated against Covid-19, ensuring that he missed a Grand Slam he has won three times. He made the final in his last foray in 2021.
- Carlos Alcaraz (2.32/+132)
Flushing Meadow will always carry a special place in the young Spaniard’s heart, as it was at this venue last year that he wrapped up his first Grand Slam title. He won his second at Wimbledon in July, with his power and creativity on full display in the final against Djokovic.
In some respects, it was a changing of the guard, though Djokovic struck back at Cincinnati. The NextGen versus OldGen rivalry renews itself at the 2023 US Open. At stake as well is the men’s world No.1 ranking: Djokovic prevailing will restore him to the top of the mountain.
- Daniil Medvedev (6.95/+595)
The world No. 3 had a run deep into the second week at Wimbledon, which ended in the semi finals at the hands of the eventual champion Alcaraz. Medvedev is expected to reach the same stage at US Open, but questions remain over his ability to compete with the likes of Alcaraz or Djokovic. He has a losing record against both men.
Medvedev’s line for the US Open title has lengthened this month: He was tossed out of the Canadian Open quarter finals by eventual finalist Alex de Minaur, and lost to old rival Alexander Zverev in the round of 16 in Cincinnati.
- Jannik Sinner (10.8/+980)
The 22-year-old Italian made the semis at Wimbledon, his best-ever Grand Slam showing, and is a favorite to reach the same stage at the US Open. One of the hardest-hitting baseliners on the tour, Sinner is still looking to make his mark on a Grand Slam stage where Alcaraz and Djokovic prevail.
Sinner did show some fine form to win the Canadian Open in Montreal earlier this month, beating Australian Alex de Minaur in straight sets. Within days however, Sinner was bundled out of the Cincinatti Open, suffering a surprise first-round defeat to Dusan Lajovic. On the bright side, the loss offers the young Italian time to reflect and prepare for the US Open.
Alexander Zverev (20.5/+1950)
The 26-year-old German is in good form coming into the US Open after winning the Hamburg Open in July and making the semi-finals in Cincinnati. He beat Daniil Medvedev in Ohio before losing to eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
The narratives in the lead up to the US Open centered around how much gas Iga Swiatek has left in the tank this year to protect her No.1 ranking from Aryna Sabalenka, and the Americans charging to victory in the Canadian and Cincinnati Opens.
- Iga Swiatek (3.18/+218)
The Polish world No. 1 has been working hard this summer while most of us were racking up beach time, in the lead up to her US Open title defense. Questions around her resilience have bubbled up as she ground through 18 matches in 6 weeks (with 15 wins).
Two of those losses were in the semi final stages of the Canadian and Cincinnati Opens this month, and both to the eventual title winners: Jessica Pegula in Montreal and Coco Gauff in Ohio. The two Americans will have the home crowd behind them in Flushing Meadow, presenting more obstacles to Swiatek’s chances of a repeat title.
- Aryna Sabalenka (5.37/+437)
The world No. 2 has also been doing it the hard way with a couple of tough three-setters in Montreal and sweltering Ohio in recent weeks. She lost to eventual finalist Liudmila Samsonova in the second round of the Canadian Open, and then made it to the semi finals in Cincinnati, where she was defeated by Karolina Muchova.
Sabalenka has earned enough tournament points this year to keep her within striking distance of Iga Swiatek’s No. 1 ranking. The Belarussian hasn’t been able to muster the results to claim it, and Flushing Meadow offers her one of the final opportunities of the season to do so.
- Elena Rybakina (6.98/+598)
Rybakina lost her No. 3 spot to Jessica Pegula this month and will be hoping to make up some ground at the US Open. The Kazakhstan national made a deep run in Montreal to the semi-final stage, but retired from her 2nd-round match in the Cincinnati Open.
The withdrawal, due to a shoulder injury, caused some speculation whether Rybakina would be suiting up for the US Open. She has since popped up on social media to reassure her fans that she’ll be ready to compete. She’s never gotten past the third round at Flushing Meadow.
- Jessica Pegula (10.4/+940)
Even though she exited the Cincinnati Open in the second round, Pegula is one of the momentum stories of the past few weeks.
The 29-year-old American got to the semi finals of the Washington DC Open and won the Canadian Open victories over Swiatek and Coco Gauff, and an absolute annihilation of Liudmila Samsonova in the finals.
Her form has boosted her hard-court wins in WTA 1000 events over the past two years to 29. It’s a number she shares with only one other player: Iga Swiatek.
Coco Gauff (11.1/+1010)
Gauff is the other great momentum story from the American hardcourt season, with titles in Washington DC and Cincinnati almost making up for her surprise first-round exit from Wimbledon.
The Cincinnati win helped Gauff take the No. 5 spot in the women’s rankings from the struggling Ons Jabeur. At 19, Gauff is the only teenager in the women’s top 40. She’s been in the spotlight since reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon as a 15-year-old. Could the US Open 2023 be her big Grand Slam break through?
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