Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have enjoyed a years-long stranglehold on Grand Slam titles and that dominance is unlikely to end at the US Open where a cast of hopefuls will try to end their reign.
“You have to beat potentially at least two of them, in some cases all three. That’s almost impossible to do,” said McEnroe. “Perhaps with a little bit of luck, something might happen and the draw could open up. They’re human. At some stage, they’re going to start losing more.”
Top seed Djokovic will begin his title defence against Roberto Carballes Baena. And before a projected semi-final clash with five-time winner Federer, he could meet former champion Stan Wawrinka. One man who is widely considered a possible threat is fifth seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia. He has proven to be the most in-form player in the lead-up to the US Open and is Djokovic’s projected quarter-final opponent.
Medvedev has never made it past the third round in New York, but is more confident than ever after reaching finals in Washington and Montreal before securing the biggest title of his career in Cincinnati. “The three weeks really pushed my confidence a lot,” said Medvedev, who has beaten Djokovic twice this season.
Federer, owner of a record 20 Grand Slam titles, considers himself to be in fine form despite a forgettable US Open tune-up, which consisted of a third-round upset in Cincinnati. The 38-year-old Swiss third seed has played just two matches since last month’s Wimbledon final loss to Djokovic, but is raring to go.
“This is probably the best I’ve felt in years coming into the US Open, which is encouraging,” said Federer. “It’s going to be a tough tournament to win, no doubt about it. I feel like I’m part of that group who can do it.” Three-time champion Nadal, whose title defence at last year’s US Open ended with him retiring from the semi-finals with a knee injury, has also declared himself ready for the battle.
The Spanish second seed has been drawn in the opposite half of rivals Djokovic and Federer. His biggest hurdle to the final could be fourth seed Austrian Dominic Thiem, who is his projected semi-final opponent.
Anderson out with knee injury
South African Kevin Anderson withdrew from the US Open on Saturday due to a right knee injury. Anderson's place in the draw will go to Italian lucky loser Paolo Lorenzi, the US Tennis Association announced. World No. 17 Anderson has not played since his third round exit at Wimbledon last month.