The US Open, beginning on Monday, is poised for an exciting match between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.
This season, the duo has delighted tennis enthusiasts with two exceptional games – first at the Wimbledon final and most recently at the Cincinnati Open.
Djokovic described last Sunday’s Cincinnati Open final victory over Alcaraz as “one of the toughest matches” of his career and the three-set, nearly four-hour clash will surely go down as one of tennis’ all-time great encounters.
The top two players in the world, Alcaraz and Djokovic, showcased incredible tennis skills in Cincinnati, adding to the excitement of their growing rivalry. This was a treat for fans, especially in the absence of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
It is highly unlikely that anyone other than Alcaraz, the current champion, or Djokovic will win the US Open. These two players are far superior to the rest of the players in the draw.
Alcaraz and Djokovic are only separated by a small margin of 20 points in the world rankings, but there is a significant gap of over 3,500 points between them and Daniil Medvedev at No. 3.
The sport of men’s tennis has greatly benefited from the intense rivalries between Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic throughout the years. While it may be an exaggeration to claim that Alcaraz’s emergence has rescued the sport, his ascent certainly helps pave the way for a smooth transition into the next era.
The individual who is 20 years old has had a noteworthy year in 2023, achieving success in six competitions, such as Wimbledon (his second major tournament) and two Masters 1000 tournaments.
Alcaraz experienced a momentary dip in performance after his impressive five-set victory against Djokovic at the Wimbledon final. He suffered a surprising defeat in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open to Tommy Paul. However, he bounced back with great resilience and displayed some of his finest tennis of the season as he made it to the final in Cincinnati.
Alcaraz is the number one ranked player in the tournament and may potentially have a rematch with Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals. This would be a year after their intense five-set match, which ended in Alcaraz’s victory at an unprecedented 2:50 am, making it the latest finish in a US Open match.
He is also positioned in the same section of the bracket as third seeded Medvedev, with the potential to meet in the semifinals.
John McEnroe, a seven-time grand slam champion, told Eurosport that Alcaraz’s achievements in the past year are truly remarkable. He also added that Alcaraz is the most impressive player at this young age, in his opinion.
“It’s amazing to see how talented Novak still is, especially in comparison to the rising young superstar. I would be thrilled to witness a rematch between these two all-time great players.”
The most recent games have been intense and exciting, let’s hope it continues.
Djokovic’s win over Alcaraz in Cincinnati was his fourth title of the year, including victories at the Australian Open and French Open to take his grand slam tally to 23.
The Serb is in the United States for the first time since 2021 due to his unvaccinated status but made up for lost time by immediately returning to winning ways in Cincinnati.
Djokovic will be playing against French player Alexandre Muller in the opening round, and he is placed in the same quarter of the tournament bracket as Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Although he is now 36 years old and nearing the end of his career, Djokovic is still able to consistently play at his highest level, giving fans the opportunity to witness many more exciting matches between the two top players in the world.
As the third-ranked player in the world and a previous winner at the US Open, Medvedev of Russia is the top candidate among the contenders to potentially cause an unexpected outcome at Flushing Meadows.
The 27-year-old experienced drastically different outcomes in the beginning and end of the season. Medvedev achieved victories in five ATP Tour events within the first five months of 2023, including two Masters 1000 tournaments and a streak of three consecutive wins in February.
Unfortunately, his performance has declined significantly since his victory over Holger Rune at the Rome Masters, resulting in a decrease in form.
After the tournament, Medvedev experienced a surprising loss in the first round to Thiago Seyboth Wild at the French Open. Apart from reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon, he has not been able to win more than two matches at any other tournament.
Medvedev has the potential to be a strong competitor at the US Open, but only if he is able to regain his performance from earlier in the season.
After making it to the championship in 2022, Capser Ruud has now lost all three of his previous grand slam final appearances. However, he still has a lot at stake as he aims to maintain the rankings points he acquired during last year’s tournament.
The fifth-ranked player has had a fluctuating season, with the most successful period being four weeks in May and June when he made it to the semifinals of the Rome Masters and the final of the French Open.
After gaining more experience in grand slam finals, it is possible that the 2023 US Open will be the tournament where Ruud finally overcomes his struggles in grand slam finals.