Novak Djokovic is favored to defend his title at the US Open, but the world’s No. 1 ranked player may have to beat both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal to claim this year’s trophy.
The US Open begins on Monday in Flushing Meadows, with 128 players in the men’s and women’s singles draws looking to pick up the final Grand Slam title of the season.
Djokovic Favored Despite Tricky Draw
Because Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer are routinely three of the top four seeds in major tournaments, two of the three of them are guaranteed to end up on the same side of the draw, while the other can avoid their biggest rivals until a potential meeting in the final.
In recent tournaments, it has seemed like Federer and Nadal have had the bad luck of always sharing the same side of the bracket. This time around, Djokovic and Federer could end up playing in the semifinals, while Nadal has a seemingly easier path to the finals.
But while pundits see Nadal as having the easier draw, he disputes the idea that he has any real advantage over his two biggest rivals.
“I have to win my matches to have an advantage because I can only meet them in the [final],” Nadal said at the US Open media day. “I have plenty of work before that to know if I have an advantage or not. So let’s see if I am able to do my work for my side.”
Despite an arguably unfortunate draw, Djokovic remains the favorite to win the 2019 US Open, with FanDuel Sportsbook giving him +115 odds of winning his third Grand Slam tournament this season. Nadal is the second choice at +300, while Federer (+750) has seen his odds drift a bit after a disappointing hard-court season. Daniil Medvedev (+1600) has recently become a trendy pick: while the Russian has never before reached even the quarterfinals of a major, he reached the finals of three hard-court events in August, winning the Cincinnati Masters.
Wealth of Contenders in Women’s US Open Field
In the women’s US Open draw, 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams (+490) is seen as the favorite, though the tournament could be anyone’s to win. Winning a 24th Grand Slam singles title would tie Williams with Margaret Court for the most all-time, but she says that’s not something she thinks about often.
“I think it’s definitely meaningful, but at this point in my career, I just try to think of different things and even bigger goals,” Williams told reporters earlier this month. “There are so much more important things in my life.”
Serena will be in the spotlight from the first round, as she drew Maria Sharapova for her opener – a matchup that once would have been seen as a worthy final at any major. While it is an uncharacteristically tough first-round matchup for Williams, she is still a -300 favorite over Sharapova (+245), in large part because of her 19-2 career record against the Russian.
Without a single dominant player on the women’s tour right now, several players are being given realistic odds of winning a US Open title this year. That includes Wimbledon champion Simona Halep (+750), French Open champion Ashleigh Barty (+750), defending US Open winner Naomi Osaka (+1200), and No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova (+1000).