Scouting Report: 10 Things To Watch At The US Open
An executive summary of what every fan should know about the coming fortnight in New York
Following the resumption of the ATP Tour at the Western & Southern Open, the US Open takes centre stage with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic leading the charge for the second Grand Slam trophy of the year.
ATPTour.com looks at the storylines to watch in New York:
1) Dominant Djokovic: While the Big Three boasts 13 consecutive and 56 of the past 67 Grand Slam titles, Novak Djokovic has dominated alone of late. He has won five of the past seven majors, including a record eighth Australian Open in February. Djokovic bids to join Roger Federer as the only players to win multiple Grand Slam titles in a season six times.
2) Daniil Returns: Daniil Medvedev became the youngest US Open finalist since Djokovic in 2010 at last year’s US Open. The Russian put together a stellar run of results winning 20 of 23 matches across Washington, Canada, Cincinnati and the US Open to join former World No. 1s Ivan Lendl (1982) and Andre Agassi (1995) as the only players to make finals at all four events in the same year. This year, Medvedev returns as the No. 3 seed with a 10-5 record in 2020. The 24-year-old reached the Western & Southern Open quarter-finals last week (l. to Bautista Agut).
3) Getting Closer: Djokovic, No. 31 seed Marin Cilic and former World No. 1 Andy Murray are the only Grand Slam champions in the draw. However, the No. 2-6 seeds — Dominic Thiem, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Matteo Berrettini — have all reached a major semi-final or final since the start of the 2019 season.
4) Historic Era: Cilic won his first Grand Slam title at the 2014 US Open. Six years later, he remains the most recent player to win his first major trophy and the youngest ATP Tour player with a Grand Slam crown on his resume. Cilic turns 32 next month. Never before in the Open Era have five years — much less six — passed without a first-time Grand Slam men’s singles champion.
5) Boys To Men: Murray is among nine US Open boys’ singles champions in the field and the only one to add the men’s singles title. The 2004 boys’ and 2012 men’s champion will play his second event of 2020 this week. In his first ATP Tour event since lifting the European Open trophy in Antwerp last October, Murray beat World No. 7 Zverev at the Western & Southern Open to earn his first Top 10 victory in three and a half years.
6) Hard Court Success: Since the start of the 2019 ATP Tour season, second seed Thiem has enjoyed consistent success on hard courts. The 2018 US Open quarter-finalist captured his maiden ATP Masters 1000 trophy at last year's BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, his first of three trophies on the surface in 2019. The Austrian ended 2019 with a run to the Nitto ATP Finals championship match (l. to Tsitsipas) and reached his maiden Australian Open final in February (l. to Djokovic).
7) #NextGenATP In New York: There are 11 #NextGenATP stars in the US Open main draw. Reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner (19) and two-time Milan runner-up Alex de Minaur (21) are among six #NextGenATP players in the bottom quarter of the draw. The final section also includes 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime (20), Miomir Kecmanovic (21 on 31 August), Corentin Moutet (21) and Santiago champion Thiago Seyboth Wild (20). Denis Shapovalov (21), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (21), Emil Ruusuvuori (21), Brandon Nakashima (19), Sebastian Korda (20) also feature in New York.
8) American Dream: American men are suffering their longest Grand Slam men’s singles title drought in tennis history. The 2020 US Open marks the 17th anniversary of Andy Roddick’s sole major championship triumph. No. 16 seed John Isner, No. 19 seed Taylor Fritz and Western & Southern Open quarter-finalist Reilly Opelka lead 21 Americans in the field this year, the most at a Grand Slam since 22 home players competed at the 1997 US Open.
9) Familiar Feli: Feliciano Lopez got married and became a tournament director in 2019. Neither life change stopped the Spaniard from extending his all-time record streak of Grand Slams appearances, which will reach 73 when he competes at the 2020 US Open. Lopez, who turns 39 next month, began his run as a 20-year-old lucky loser at 2002 Roland Garros.
10) Youth Movement: Fourteen of the 32 seeds are under the age of 25, the most at a major championship since the 2010 Australian Open (14). Ten of the Top 20 seeds are under the age of 25, the most at a Grand Slam event since the 2009 US Open (10). Stefanos Tsitsipas, the youngest Top 10 seed in New York, is attempting to reach his first Grand Slam final. Last year, the Greek advanced to his first major semi-final at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and ended the year by lifting the biggest trophy of his career at the Nitto ATP Finals (d. Thiem).