Get your tennis tips for the men’s section of the 2023 US Open tournament, with all signs pointing to another Alcaraz versus Djokovic slam final showdown – though there is a stack of worthy contenders eager to upset that notion.
THE TOP CONTENDERS
Prevented from competing last year, Djokovic will be hellbent on repeating his Australian Open feat earlier this year and returning with an emphatic triumph at Flushing Meadows. A Calendar Slam looked a very real possibility after an outstanding capture of the French Open title, but he was upset by Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final. The 36-year-old icon warmed up for his pursuit of his fourth US Open success – but his first since 2018 – by outlasting Alcaraz in the Cincinnati Masters final. Incredibly, 23-time major winner Djokovic has made the final in 14 of his last 18 slam visits, winning 10.
The world No.1 has extra incentive to defend his US Open crown with Djokovic present this year. Alcaraz became the youngest men’s major winner in 17 years after surviving a string of five-set tests at Flushing Meadows 12 months ago and beating Casper Ruud in the final. He’s continued his steep ascent in 2023, winning Indian Wells and the Madrid Masters then overcoming the disappointment of his French Open semi-final defeat to Djokovic with an epic boilover in the Wimbledon final against the veteran master. But a loss when the pair met in the Cincinnati decider last week was a reality check that he’s not the undisputed alpha just yet.
The 2021 champion was stunned by Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round of last year’s US Open but will be hungry to rattle the apparent emerging Alcaraz-Djokovic grand slam duopoly his his second major title. Medvedev was sensational on hard courts earlier this year – reaching the Indian Wells final and winning the Miami Masters among a clutch of tournament wins – while he also took out the Rome Masters and reached the Wimbledon semis on less favoured surfaces. His recent form has been comparatively modest, but the gifted Russian is tremendous value in this market.
The Italian lost a five-set classic to Alcaraz in last year’s quarter-finals, but he’s climbed to a career-high No.6 in the rankings this month after following up his maiden slam semi appearance at Wimbledon (a loss to Djokovic) with the Canadian Masters title. Sinner, 22, is among the most powerful hitters on the tour with a blistering backhand – and a definite threat over the next fortnight.
Zverev was the runner-up here in 2020 and made the semis in ’21, but a long-term injury preventing him from competing last year. It’s taken some time for the German whiz to regain his best form, but he ended an 18-month title drought at the clay-court Hamburg Open last month, while he also made the semis at the French Open and the recent Cincinnati Masters, pushing Djokovic at the latter. A step below the top contenders but certainly capable and clearly thrives at Flushing Meadows.
BEST AUSSIE HOPE
ALEX DE MINAUR
De Minaur rocketed to a career-best ranking of 12th after making consecutive finals at the Los Cabos Open and the Canadian Masters, taking down four higher-ranked players during a fruitful fortnight. The 24-year-old livewire made his only slam quarter-final appearance at the 2020 US Open. While few rate him a huge chance of making it further than that, he’s decent value at $15 to achieve a semi-final breathrough. Meanwhile, countryman Max Purcell is in the same quarter of the draw and has been on fire to break into the top 50 recently – beating Ruud on his way to the Cincinnati Masters quarters – and is a potential second-round banana skin for Medvedev.
The home crowd will be baying for a deep run from an American and ninth seed Fritz is arguably the best credentialled to deliver it, though Frances Tiafoe is at shorter odds. The 2022 Indian Wells champ has consistently underdelivered in grand slams (a Wimbledon quarter-final last year is his best result) but he won the Atlanta Open recently. Perhaps the big-serving 26-year-old’s biggest issue is – if he makes it through a possible fourth-round clash with Tsitsipas – that he is on a quarter-final collision course, who he is 0-7 against and lost in the Cincinnati quarters to last week.