This tournament will be defined as much by notable absentees as those fighting for the title.

Stan Wawrinka will not defend his trophy after knee surgery, while two-time champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori are both missing, too.

While those players outside the usual list of favourites will hope that the raft of pull-outs opens up the draw, the reality may prove that it is narrower than ever.

The competition for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal is minimal.

Alexander Zverev did beat Federer to win the Rogers Cup a fortnight ago, however, so possibly poses some threat to the top two.

The fact that the German has only ever reached the fourth round of a Slam means backing him for victory at Flushing Meadows requires some leap of faith.

Whether fifth-favourite Nick Kyrgios, who reached the final of Cincinnati, has the temperament to last the fortnight, meanwhile, remains improbable.

Federer complained of a back problem after that Zverev defeat, but missed last week’s event in Cincy to rest up and is the rightful favourite after a stellar 2017.


Best of the rest

Grigor Dimitrov won in Cincinatti, so heads the list of outsiders for this competition.

The Bulgarian has enjoyed a promising 2017, winning two of his seven career titles and reaching the Australian Open semi-finals, and could round it off with a decent run in New York.

Former champion Marin Cilic is available at , but he has not played since folding in the Wimbledon final and, therefore, is worth swerving.

An outsider worth considering each way could be John Isner , who made the semi-final in Cincinnati, and [Winston-Salem performance].

In truth, though, it’s tough to look past the usual suspects.