As the 2021 tennis schedule prepares for the upcoming US Open, it is fair to say that the field has been blown open in terms of who will come out on top and with a litany of withdrawals, it could be one of the most interesting tournaments in quite a while. With this edition boasting a breaking record of prize money $57.5 M!
With this being the fourth Grand Slam of the year, there is a sense that those involved will want to go out on a high and with Novak Djokovic previously scooping the other three top-tier events, there is a feeling that perhaps the stars have started to align.
Stars that may have provided the Serbian, with the greatest ever chance to win a Calendar Year Grand Slam and after scooping success at the Australian and French Open tournaments, which themselves go alongside victory at Wimbledon this summer, now the focus is on stateside success.
While the reason the stars have arguably aligned for Djokovic, is due to the absence of both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from proceedings and with injury plaguing two of the game’s greats, it does seem as if the hottest ace of 2021 has been handed a huge advantage.
To the point where an open field in terms of tournament entrants, may end up being more a case of who will join the 34-year-old in the final and especially when you look at the pre-tournament bookmaker odds that are currently available.
For those who like to use their betting apps, they will see a large amount of confidence in Djokovic to win this year’s US Open and when you consider the non-appearance of his two biggest foes, then you can understand just why so many punters are backing Djokovic to win.
Because the last couple of weeks have very much been a good news, bad news scenario for this year’s US Open favourite and although he was deprived the opportunity to win a Golden Slam this year – due to defeat at the Tokyo Olympics, his spirits would have been lifted by news elsewhere.
News that although you should not take joy in the anguish of others, it would be hard for Djokovic to not at least offer a wry smile in private and with Roger Federer first announcing his inability to compete at Flushing Meadows, it may have meant a titanic tussle with Rafael Nadal in the final.
However, it does seem like fortune is not favouring the Spaniard either and with a nagging foot injury now becoming more than a pain, the Mallorca born star is no longer in a position to compete at such a prestigious event.
To the point where Nadal has had to call time on the rest of his 2021 schedule and some are even questioning whether the rigours of Grand Slam tennis are now going to be too much for 2022 and beyond.
When you consider just how big a war of attrition Grand Slam tennis actually is and combine that with the age of Nadal and his arch-rivals, there is a sense that the sport’s golden era may finally be coming to an end.
If only for the simple reason that the three men in question and you could even add Andy Murray into this bracket of fading forces cannot go on forever and at some point, the next generation will have to break through the glass ceiling which currently sits above.
Then again, that glass ceiling has not yet been penetrated once and for all and although the likes of Danii Medvedev and Alexander Zverev will consider themselves heir apparent to tennis’ throne, they cannot claim such a moniker yet.
If the tournament draw can go favourably for either of these two men, they may well be in a position to earn a place in the final and go toe to toe with a man who has swept all before him when it really matters.
Of course, when it comes to sport and redemption, it may be too quick to write off British star Andy Murray and although the bookmakers are not pushing him to the top of the odds list at present, this is someone who has won at Flushing Meadows previously. With all this taken into consideration, it will take something rather remarkable for the 34-year-old Scot to come out on top in September and it will take something remarkable to stop Novak Djokovic from winning this year’s US Open.