Novak Djokovic moved to within one grand slam of Rafael Nadal when he won Wimbledon in July, but the Serbian will not close the gap at the US Open.
Djokovic, a beaten finalist at the US Open 12 months ago and three-time winner of the event, is unable to compete because non-vaccinated people remain barred from entering the United States.
It is the second slam Djokovic has missed this year, having been deported from the Australian Open in January.
That gives Rafael Nadal the opportunity to extend his lead over Djokovic back to two, although the Spaniard is not the pre-tournament favourite to triumph.
Winner: Daniil Medvedev
Daniil Medvedev won his maiden grand slam title at last year’s US Open, beating Djokovic in straight sets in the final, and is favourite to retain his crown.
Medvedev missed Wimbledon because Russian players were banned from competing, but comes into the final major of the year in fine form on hard courts.
The world No. 1 won the Los Cabos Open at the beginning of the month and reached the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters last time out.
Medvedev, who also reached the final of the Australian Open, only dropped one set at last year’s US Open and, in the absence of Djokovic, is primed to claim the second slam of his career.
Winner: Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal shouldn’t be a contender to win the US Open.
Nadal has played just one competitive match since withdrawing from the Wimbledon semi-final through injury, losing in three sets at the Cincinnati Masters.
But Nadal has a generous draw and, even at the age of 36, remains the most resilient player on the ATP Tour. That’s proven by the fact he has been battling injury for most of the year yet has still won two of the year’s three majors.
Nadal came back from two sets down against Medvedev to win the Australian Open in January. And if the 22-time grand slam winner (and four-time US Open champion) can build his fitness throughout the tournament, it is possible he can add to his tally in New York.
Winner: Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz announced himself to the world at last year’s US Open when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way to reaching the quarter-final.
Alcaraz has since won Masters 1000 events in Miami and Madrid, as well as making the last eight at the French Open.
The 19-year-old is a grand slam winner in the making, but his form in the lead up to this event – his best result was a run to the quarters in Cincinnati – doesn’t justify his status as third favourite to win the US Open.
Winner: Nick Kygrios
For so long the poster boy of unfulfilled potential, Nick Kygrios enjoyed a career-best performance at a grand slam by reaching the final of Wimbledon.
Is that result likely to propel Kyrgios to bigger and better things? Probably not.
The Australian’s implosion in the final against Djokovic shows he is not cut out to win majors. And while there is no shame in that, his price is too short to consider backing him at the US Open, where he has never progressed beyond the third round.
Winner: Cameron Norrie
Andy Murray was the British male hope for so long, but with the 2012 champion struggling for form and fitness, that attention is now Cameron Norrie.
Rightly so, for Norrie has enjoyed a breakthrough year. He reached the semi-finals of Wimbledon and climbed inside the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time.
The 27-year-old has form on hard court, too. He was a beaten finalist in Los Cabos, before defeating Alcaraz on the way to making the semis in Cincinnati.
Norrie can go deep at Flushing Meadows, where he is seeded seventh.
All odds are subject to change