- Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal look to reclaim the US Open men’s title
- Angelique Kerber defends her US Open title with an eight-way fight for world no. 1 going on in the women’s draw
- US Open tennis is live from New York from 28 August-10 September 2017
Former champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal duel to reclaim the US Open men’s title while the women’s draw features an eight-way battle for the no. 1 ranking – with Karolina Pliskova, defending champion Angelique Kerber and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza leading contenders – as well as the title: US Open tennis is live from New York from Monday 28 August until Sunday 10 September.
The fourth and final Grand Slam of the year welcomes the best in men’s and women’s tennis to Flushing Meadows once more when the 2017 US Open begins on Monday 28 August.
Many of the biggest stars will be in action – but there are also some crucial absences, with the men’s field in particular decimated by injury. Stan Wawrinka, out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, will not be returning to defend his title; Andy Murray, the 2012 champion, withdrew on the eve of the tournament with a hip problem; Novak Djokovic, who has featured in the US Open men’s singles final for six of the past seven years, is also out for the rest of the year with an arm injury, 2014 runner-up Kei Nishikori with a wrist injury. Milos Raonic is also due to be absent after undergoing wrist surgery. On the women’s side, there are fewer absences but two are particularly notable; Serena Williams, six times a champion in New York, won’t be playing as she is pregnant with her first child, while two-time runner-up Victoria Azarenka remains embroiled in a custody dispute which has kept her from appearing.
This all creates an absolutely intriguing situation – in both draws. For the men, the question is whether one of the four former champions headlining the draw will recapture the title, and if so, who will it be? Roger Federer once ruled supreme in New York, winning five consecutive titles from 2004-8, and has been by far the most successful player of the season so far, making a spectacular resurgence from knee surgery and a truncated 2016 surgery to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon as well as back-to-back Masters 1000 Series titles on American hard courts at Indian Wells and Miami. Federer ‘tweaked’ his back in the run-up, though, costing him his chance to be one of the top two seeds – will that hold him back in New York?
Federer’s long-time rival, Rafael Nadal, reclaimed the no. 1 ranking a few weeks ago after his own resurgent season saw him finish runner-up in Melbourne and Miami and dominate the clay season, culminating in a tenth French Open crown. US Open champion in 2013, Nadal hasn’t won a title on hard courts since January 2014 – is he capable of it? And could we see the Federer-Nadal final that’s never been witnessed in New York?
Is this where the ‘Next Gen’ steps up? Alexander Zverev is up to world no. 4 at the age of 20 after capturing five titles so far in 2017, including Masters 1000 Series titles in Rome and Montreal – but he’s never even made a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Cincinnati runner-up Nick Kyrgios looks on the verge of something, while Grigor Dimitrov is newly relevant after winning his first Masters 1000 Series title in Cincinnati. Could one of these – or perhaps 2014 champion Marin Cilic – step up in New York?
On the women’s side, Serena’s absence has led to open and fascinating fields and fans will be hoping the US Open will be as competitive and fiercely-fought as the French Open and Wimbledon. Angelique Kerber will bid to defend her title, but no fewer than eight women have the opportunity to become world no. 1 by making the final or winning the title at the US Open. Incumbent Karolina Pliskova, who opened her rise to the top by defeating Serena and Venus Williams to make the final in 2016, hopes to make her second Grand Slam final in New York; then there’s Simona Halep, a former semifinalist at the US Open and a runner-up in Cincinnati, who will be looking for the Grand Slam title that eluded her when she made the French Open final (losing to Jelena Ostapenko, who cannot become no. 1 in New York but should not be underestimated on that account).
Garbine Muguruza is looking for back-to-back major titles as the 23-year-old Spanish player has followed up her storming run to the Wimbledon title with a period of strong form, making the semifinals in Stanford and capturing the title in Cincinnati – her first on American soil; and Elina Svitolina, another no. 1 contender, hopes to capitalize on a superb season which has seen her win five titles, including Premier-5s in Dubai, Rome and Toronto, with her deepest Slam run yet.
The eight contenders for the world no. 1 spot are rounded out by Caroline Wozniacki, who has made no fewer than six finals in 2017 and who has twice been a runner-up at the US Open, which seems to bring out the very best in her; Miami champion and British no. 1 Johanna Konta, a semifinalist at Wimbledon; 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and the only woman who has made multiple Grand Slams so far in 2017, the evergreen Venus Williams, looking for her first US Open title since 2001.
The men’s and women’s no. 1 rankings could change hands in New York, but more importantly, someone will be lifting the trophies at the end of what should be another spectacular fortnight of top-flight tennis in the greatest city of the world.