The 2021 US Open kicks off this Monday (5pm, Eurosport) with a clear favorite in the men’s team: Novak Djokovic. In the absence of his Big Three rivals, Roger Federer and, above all, Rafa Nadal, the 34-year-old Serbian He looks ready to break the men’s record for Grand Slam titles that he shares with the Swiss and the Spanish, who like him add 20. And incidentally, he aspires to be the sixth tennis player, male or female, to win all four in the same year, after Don Budge, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Margaret Court and Steffi Graf.
Djokovic, who will make his debut on Tuesday (01:00) against the Danish Rune (18 years old and 145th) is going for it, with determination and a security that some consider presumptuous. “From 1 to 10 I have a trustworthy 11 … no, sorry, a 21”, Djokovic said in his last interview in New York, referring to the number of majors he will accumulate if he is proclaimed champion in 13 days at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. A phrase criticized, among others, by Patrick Moratoglou, coach of Serena Williams and mentor of Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the main rivals of the world number one. “Be very careful with the fine line between confidence and overconfidence. Confidence is constructive, but excess is destructive, “the French coach wrote on Twitter.
The truth is that Djokovic, for whom completing the Grand Slam after having won in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2021 would be “the greatest achievement” of his career, has not competed since the fiasco of the Tokyo Games. There. Alexander Zverev, another of those who aspire to sour the party in the Big Apple, separated him from the final and Pablo Carreño, against whom he was disqualified from the tournament last year, took away the bronze medal.
The Balkan claimed fatigue to skip the Masters 1,000 in Toronto and Cincinnati. So his form and his tennis are a real unknown in the most unpredictable Slam of the four. In the last 13 years, eight different players have won it. The last, Dominic Thiem, another of the great absentees in this edition, who will not be able to defend the title won in 2020.
That is the burning nail that his enemies are clinging to, including Daniil Mevedev, number two in the ranking and a great threat to Nole’s reign. “We are here not to let Djokovic win,” said in the media day the Muscovite, finalist in 2019, semifinalist in 2020 and runner-up this year in Melbourne, precisely against Belgrade.
Schedules of the men’s draw of the US Open.
Muguruza and 10 more Spaniards
In an open women’s draw, although with a slight favoritism for Ashleigh Barty, the number one and champion at Wimbledon, Garbiñe Muguruza makes her debut this Monday (17:00) against the Croatian Vekic (1-1 in the face to face). On the first day, another 10 Spaniards will perform: Bautista, Alcaraz, Andújar, Feliciano López against Zapata, Davidovich, Martínez, Taberner, Carla Suárez and Rebeka Masarova.
US Open women’s draw hours.