The final grand slam of the year gets underway at flushing meadows in New York from August 28, and the 2022 US Open could be one of the most unpredictable majors in recent times. With Novak Djokovic banned from a second grand slam in 2022 due to his refusal to get a vaccine, the field opens up for the rest of the competitors as Daniil Medvedev looks to defend his US Open crown in front of a whole host of challengers on the men’s side.
With Novak Djokovic absent and Rafael Nadal coming off a major injury with little runway heading into the tournament, the 2022 US Open could be one of the most open grand slams in recent history.
Although Rafael Nadal won both the opening majors of the year in Melbourne and Paris and looked in supreme touch at Wimbledon, the Spaniard suffered an abdominal tear during the grass season that has hampered his build-up to the US Open. Nadal was only fit enough to serve a few weeks leading up to New York and suffered a shock second-round exit in Cincinnati. However, the one thing in favour of the second seed at the US Open is the draw.
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Nadal has received a straightforward path to the semi-final at flushing meadows, where his most likely opponent in the fourth round will be Diego Schwartzmann. The only other primary threats in his quarter are Andrey Rublev and Cameron Norrie, and if Rafael Nadal can build his fitness and game in the opening week of the US Open, the 22-time Grand Slam champion has every chance of adding to his singles titles and extending his lead over Novak Djokovic.
However, apart from Nadal, there is a stacked field at the 2022 US Open, with plenty of contenders good enough to make it to the showpiece event at flushing meadows. Daniil Medvedev has reached the final in each of the last three grand slam majors played on hard courts, and the world number one has had a good run in the lead-up to the event, winning in Los Cabos.
Apart from Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, plenty of young stars will be chasing their first Grand Slam title in New York. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz are the two favourites to reach the semi-finals as the third and fourth seeds, but Matteo Berrettini, Jannik Sinner and Felix Auger–Alliasimme are all capable challengers, along with the American trio of Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul.
In-form Nick Kyrgios is also one of the wildcards of the draw. The Australian is in the form of his life at the moment, reaching the final at Wimbledon and winning the Citi Open in Washington DC in the lead-up to the tournament.
One of the biggest storylines heading into the 2022 US Open is whether British teenage sensation Emma Raducanu can defend her women’s singles crown after her historic showcase in New York last autumn. Raducanu has had a tumultuous season in 2022 following her earth-shattering performance at the US Open last year, but the teenager has impressed in the weeks leading up to this year’s event. The British number one reached the quarterfinals of the Citi Open in Washington DC and also emphatically beat former world number one’s and grand slam champions Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka in Cincinnati.
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However, despite being seeded 11th at the US Open, Raducanu hasn’t been offered an easy draw. She will face world number 37 Alize Cornet in the first round, who reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year and beat Iga Swiatek in Wimbledon. Looking further, Raducanu could face four-time grand slam winner Naomi Osaka as early as round three and the current Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina in round four.
While Serena Williams takes on Danka Kovinic in the opener for her final US Open and Grand Slam before retirement, the major favourites to go deep in the draw at the Billie Jean King arena are world number Iga Swiatek, home favourite Jessica Pegula, and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur.