Check out predictions about matches, tournaments and the future of tennis. Tennisnerd looks into the crystal ball.
We are on the verge of the last Grand Slam of the year. Exciting times! Here is our Men’s US Open 2023 Preview.
Men’s US Open 2023 Preview
It’s hard to see anyone whose name is not Carlos Alcaraz or Novak Djokovic taking home this year’s US Open title. They are the top two seeds, which sets up the possibility of another major showdown between the two best players in the world.
Can anyone else spoil the party? Let’s have a look! Keen to hear your predictions in the comments. Or why not join the Tennisnerd group in the US Open bracket challenge?
The 23-time major champion will be eager to end his year on a high after losing out to Alcaraz in the final of Wimbledon. Djokovic could not compete at last year’s US Open due to his vaccination status. Alcaraz took advantage of the Serb’s absence and lifted his first major title. Now Djokovic can win his third major of the season and end the year as world number one. The Serb will be extremely happy with the draw he has been dealt and I don’t see many players worrying him until the final. Djokovic could meet Auger-Aliassime in the fourth-round, who’s had a very inconsistent year. A quarter-final match with Tsitsipas is then likely to happen. Djokovic owns a 11-2 head-to-head against the Greek. If there is one player who could potentially cause the Serb some problems in his half is the charismatic Holger Rune. However, Djokovic’s ability to manage his way through five sets is impeccable, so I struggle to see him falling before the final. If Djokovic is to meet Alcaraz in the final, as many expect, the Serb will take great encouragement from their last meeting. The two have only previously met once on hard courts in their so-far infant rivalry. Luckily for Djokovic, it was last week at the Cincinnati Masters final, which the Serb won in arguably the ATP tour match of the year.
Can the world number 1 defend his US Open title? Still only 20, Alcaraz has been virtually unstoppable this year. He’s won six titles, including two Masters 1000s and a memorable five-set win over Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. Even more impressive about the Spaniard’s Wimbledon win was that he defeated a player who hadn’t lost on the SW19 courts since 2017. Even as great as Alcaraz has been, up until the Cincinnati Masters, his post-Wimbledon form was sub-par for his standard. The Spaniard lost in the quarter-finals of the Canadian Open to Tommy Paul. He then uncharacteristically fought through four three-set matches to set up a finals clash with Djokovic in Cincinnati. When it mattered, Alcaraz stepped up to the plate. If there were any signs of season-ending fatigue, they were gone. Yes, he did lose that match against the Serb but it was nip and tuck all the way. I expect him to bring this level of tennis this fortnight. Alcaraz does have a tougher draw than Djokovic, but it shouldn’t worry him too much. He could face Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final and Daniil Medvedev in the semi. Sinner and Medvedev are probably the next favorites for the title after Alcaraz and Djokovic, but they shouldn’t prevent the Spaniard from making another major final.
The world number 3 has had a roller coaster of a season. At times, he has shown why he is one of the best hard-court players in the world. Coming into the Australian Open as one of the favorites, Medvedev failed to reach the tournament’s second-round, losing uncharacteristically in the third round. Following this loss, the Russian found his game. In February, he won three tour-level titles in as many weeks before adding two more Masters 1000 titles before the end of May. It momentarily looked like Medvedev had regained his 2021 winning form. Then, a surprising first-round loss in Paris again set the Russian back. Medvedev had a good showing at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-final stage for the first time in his career. It’s hard to predict how far Medvedev will go. However, if anyone is going to challenge Djokovic and Alcaraz, the Russian has shown in the past that he can do so. He is a former US Open champion and defeated Djokovic in the final to win his first major title. Very few players can say they’ve beaten the Serb in a major final. On that day, Medvedev also stopped Djokovic from achieving the grand slam. This time, can he stop Djokovic from winning his 24th major title? It will be a tough task, as it’s likely he’ll have to face Alcaraz in the semi-final before he gets there.
Ones to watch
If it weren’t for the 20-year-old sensation Carlos Alcaraz, everyone would be talking about the other 20-year-old who’s reached the top ten of the ATP rankings. Holger Rune sits at a career-high of number four in the world. This is not the only remarkable feat the young Dane has already achieved. He’s reached three Masters 1000 finals, and made the quarter-final of the last two majors. Pretty impressive. Rune is heading into the US Open after two first-round losses, but I expect him to find his game. He’s in the bottom half of the draw, and I think he will be the favorite to make the semi-final. Casper Ruud or Frances Tiafoe could be potential quarter-final opponents, but Rune should beat both. If he does that, he’s likely to face Djokovic. He’s beaten Djokovic once before on hard courts and has a winning head-to-head record against the Serb. If there is one player whose name isn’t Alcaraz who can beat Djokovic, it might be Rune.
The Italian is entering this year’s tournament off the back of winning the biggest title of his young career. Two weeks ago, Sinner won his first Masters 1000 title in Canada. Since reaching his first major quarter-final in 2020, the tennis world has expected big things from the Italian. It has taken him a few years to refine his game, but the 22-year-old has made big strides this year. He reached his first major semi-final at Wimbledon and has recorded four top-ten wins this season, including one over world number one Alcaraz on the hard courts of Miami. He has been drawn in a tough quarter. Former US Open finalist Alexander Zverev could be a potential fourth-round opponent and a quarter-final match against Alcaraz could be on the cards.
The German is close to rediscovering his very best tennis after returning to the tour following his horrific ankle injury at last year’s French Open. Although the German missed the start of this year’s season, he made the semi-final of this year’s French Open, won his first title in nearly two years, and narrowly lost out to Djokovic in the semi-final of last week’s Cincinnati Masters. Zverev, now 26, is still searching for his first major title. Is this the 2020 Olympic gold medalist’s time to shine?
For a two-time major finalist and multiple semi-finalists, it’s surprising that Tsitsipas’ US Open record is rather underwhelming. The Greek has failed to make it past the third round of the tournament in five attempts. Last year, he crashed out in the first round to Daniel Galan, and this year hasn’t been rewarded with a kind draw. He meets Milos Raonic in the first round and could face rising star Chris Eubanks in the third round. Tsitsipas did win the ATP 250 event in Los Cabos, Mexico, at the beginning of August, so does have some hard-court form leading into this tournament. Like Zverev, Tsitsipas is still waiting to win his first major title. A quarter-final match with Djokovic might be the furthest he gets to achieving his goal this year.