Novak Djokovic is clear favourite to win the US Open in a depleted field, but there could be value in looking elsewhere.
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have pulled out of this event, so all eyes are on Novak Djokovic .
The Serb’s exploits over the last few months may not have won him too many friends, but he is still the player with the greatest pedigree and class in this competition.
He has won four of his last seven slams and has claimed this title three times, including in 2018, which justifies his status as heavy favourite.
But with so little tennis having been played recently, the conditions are unpredictable enough to side with someone different here.
That man could be second-favourite Daniil Medvedev .
Medvedev has only progressed beyond the fourth round of a major on one occasion, but that was at this event 12 months ago when he lost a classic five-set final to Rafael Nadal.
His baseline style suits this hard-court tournament perfectly, while his career trajectory suggests that a slam is around the corner.
He won three titles in 2018 and four in 2019, with defeated opponent Alex Zverev labelling him the “best player in the world” after the Shanghai Masters final last October.
The best of the rest
British tennis fans will naturally be dreaming of glory for Andy Murray , whose career seemed to be over before he underwent hip resurfacing surgery in 2019.
But while Murray has done brilliantly to clamber back to the level that he is now at, he surely doesn’t have the durability for a run to the latter stages of this event.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is obviously of interest.
The 22-year-old reached consecutive finals before tennis was postponed earlier in the year, winning one of them in Marseille, and progressed to the semi-finals of last week’s Western & Southern Open in New York.
His slam record counts against him, but he did win the ATP Finals at the end of last year, proving that he has the stomach for the biggest events.
Karen Khachanov has had a quiet time of things but could still be worth a punt each-way.
The 24-year-old beat Djokovic in the Paris Masters final on hard court less than two years ago and has generally only been beaten by top opposition so far this season.
He also avoids the Serb until the final.
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