2019 US Open Preview: Who Can Challenge Novak Djokovic At Flushing Meadows?

THE FACTS

Where is the 2019 US Open taking place? USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows, New York

When is the 2019 US Open taking place? Monday, August 26 - September 8, 2019

What channel is the 2019 US Open on in the UK? Amazon Prime Video have the rights to the US Open tennis for viewers in the UK. New users can sign up to a free 30-day trial. Monthly subscription is £7.99 per month after the free trial period

Where can I stream the 2019 US Open? Amazon Prime Video has the exclusive rights, so Amazon is the only place to stream the tournament

Where can I get tickets for the 2019 US Open? https://www.usopen.org/en_US/tickets/index.html?promo=topnav

THE PLAYERS

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

  • Barring injury or any other disaster, the defending US Open champion and runaway world number one will be the man to beat once again.
  • Djokovic has tailored his training to peak for the Grand Slams, and with the US Open being the last major towards the back end of a gruelling season, it is more important than at any time of the year to ensure fitness is where it should be.
  • Djokovic is one the fittest players on the ATP Tour so his preparation will be thoroughly taken care of, while there is simply no player in the world that can contend with the Serbian on a hard court when he is close to his best.
  • A fourth title at Flushing Meadows looks to be Djokovic’s to lose. He lived up to his 2018 pre-tournament favourite tag - expect him to do so again this year.

RAFAEL NADAL

  • Nadal won his third US Open title in 2017 to prove that even after all the injuries and setbacks, the Spaniard can still produce the goods away from his preferred clay courts.
  • It’s worth noting that Nadal didn’t face a single player ranked inside the top 20 when he won the 2017 title.
  • Fitness issues continuing to linger for Nadal, despite his recent French Open victory - and when combined with the return of a resurgent Djokovic and a pack of talented contenders in tow, it is possible that title in 2017 will be Nadal’s last in New York.

ROGER FEDERER

  • Age may not be on his side, but the 37-year-old Swiss remains a leading contender in every event he enters.
  • Federer continues to opt for a selective schedule to ensure he is ready for the Grand Slams, so expect him to dial back his tournament commitments in the build-up to the US Open.
  • While Federer is viewed as one of the 2019 US Open favourites, he hasn’t won the tournament since 2008 - the last of his five in a row at Flushing Meadows.
  • In the 11 years since, Federer’s US Open record is patchy: two final appearances where he lost to Djokovic are understandable, but early losses to the likes of John Millman, Tommy Robredo and Tomas Berdych less so.
  • Can Federer end an 11-year wait for a sixth US Open title? The talent is still there, but perhaps the season-long endurance is not - even with a shorter schedule.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO

  • The Argentine became the first player to beat Nadal and Federer back-to-back at a Grand Slam when he won his first and only major title at the US Open in 2009. He was just 20 years old.
  • Wrist injuries have made a major impact on Del Potro in the intervening years, but he still finds himself going deep at Grand Slams - even with his remodelled game.
  • If Nadal and Federer struggle to contend at this year’s US Open, Del Potro - with his enormous groundstrokes and powerful serve - is the man best-placed to challenge Djokovic.

DOMINIC THIEM

  • The Austrian has for some time been regarded as the second-best clay court player in the world behind Nadal, but he has made great strides on other surfaces this past season or so.
  • Before winning the Barcelona Open, Thiem’s previous two titles were on hard courts, including the prestigious Masters 1000 event at Indian Wells.
  • A supremely fit player, Thiem is likely to handle the rigours of the season leading up to the US Open better than most, while his blend of power, variation and consistency will lend itself well to the New York courts.
  • He has a solid if not spectacular US Open record, but his huge improvements on hard courts make him a serious contender.

MARIN CILIC

  • Like Del Potro, Cilic knows how to win in New York having clinched his only Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open.
  • Another player whose skills are ideally suited to the quicker hard courts of New York, the Croatian’s power - when properly harnessed - can blow anyone off the court.
  • Temperament and consistency have been Cilic’s downfall in the bigger matches in recent years, which is why he has often come up short against the 'Big Three'.
  • In terms of ability, there are few players more credible to win the US Open this year than Cilic.

THE PREDICTION

The US Open is not such a hyped event in USA as the NFL Superbowl, the World Series or the NBA playoff finals, but it is still one event to watch, either if you are a tennis fan or a betting enthusiast. It may sound boring and lacking in imagination, but fitness permitting, Djokovic should successfully defend the title. He is far and away the best outdoor hard-court player in the world, his fitness will still be at a high level while rivals like Nadal and Federer start to run out of steam, and he is sure to peak in New York.