It’s maybe more of a question of “who will” as opposed to “who can” win the US Open 2019. Even when you go and look at the size of the field lining up at Flushing Meadows, a 128-man draw, the outcome of the tournament is likely going to boil down to a 1 in 3 chance between Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Big 3. They are the elite and between them, they have claimed all three of this year’s previous Grand Slam titles.
So are we set for more predictability at the tournament? Well, looking back, two of the last five winners of the men’s draw at Flushing Meadows have been won by what you would deem underdogs. Those were Marin Cilic in 2014 and Stan Wawrinka in 2016. But then as a bigger trend, you drift back 15 years to 2004 when Roger Federer won his first-ever US Open Grand Slam title, 11 of the last 15 editions of the US Open Grand Slam have been won one of the Big 3.
The case for a Djokovic defence
There is going to be a pretty strong case made for it being Djokovic who soars to success in New York’s US Open 2019. He has done it three times before in his career and he heads back to Flushing Meadows as the reigning champion. Djokovic took out Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in last year’s final.
Djokovic has won each of the last four Grand Slam finals that he has appeared in. He has been to the Final of four of the last five Grand Slam tournaments. Djokovic has also lost just one of his last nine Grand Slam final appearances (the 2016 US Open shock upset against Stan Wawrinka).
So he is the man to rely on basically when it comes to the Slams. He bagged his 7th Australian Open title this year and his 5th Wimbledon title. It’s why he is the -108 Moneyline favourite for the US Open 2019. Case closed?
Can Rafael Nadal rule in New York’s US Open 2019?
Spain’s Nadal is at +286 on the Moneyline.
It’s the biggest threat to the reign of Djokovic at the US Open 2019. Like Djokovic, he is a three-time winner of the US Open title, his most recent arriving in 2017. That was his first success there since back in 2013 and in the years between he never made it past the fourth round.
In favour of Nadal though is that he has been to at least the semi-finals in each of the last six Grand Slams played, his two titles in that sequence of events both coming at the French Open (which is no surprise). A further positive for his backers, is that in his last four US Open Final appearances, Nadal has won the title three times which is a great strike rate. But that just begs the question, can he get there?
Does Federer have six appeal?
Roger Federer has already done more than enough in his career to go down as one of the greatest ever US Open players.
Winning the title five times is something that only American greats Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras managed.
Likely to be nagging at the back of Federer’s mind though, is the fact that he’s still fit, still capable of playing top-level Grand Slam tennis and just one more title makes him thegreatest Open Era US Open player.
But Federer’s last title at Flushing Meadows happened in 2008. So that’s a decade of nothingness from Federer in New York. Well, he’s been to the Final twice in that spell. But there was only a fourth-round effort from him last year, and punters will probably wonder if the time for that sixth US Open title has already passed him by.
Is the Field worth a mention?
It’s a remarkable thing, considering the ages of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal that still to this day whenever a Grand Slam comes around you don’t talk about anyone else. Still, let’s dip into the US Open field a little bit. Stefanos Tsipstias had that tremendous run to the Australian Open semi-finals this year.
The Greek star started the year so well, but his form dipped over the second half of the season, aside from a run to the Citi Open semis in early August where he lost to Nick Kyrgios. Those two could meet in the third round at the US Open. Daniil Medvedev is at +1203 on the Moneyline. He has been carrying some recent form with his Western & Southern Open title.
Medvedev can also boast having beaten Novak Djovkoci twice (yes twice!) this season as well. Why is that significant? Because he could meet Djokovic in the third round at Flushing Meadows in what would be a huge showdown. You can throw more names out there like Nick Kyrgios, like Dominic Thiem and former champion Stan Warwikina, but all of their records in the Grand Slam events pale in comparison to the Big 3.
Notes on the Draw
A bump in Federer’s path to that potential sixth US Open title is that he has been placed in the top half of the draw alongside tournament favourite Novak Djokovic. So that means that Federer would potentially have to go through both Djokovic and Nadal to get his hands on this year’s title. Federer is third seed at the tournament and the way that chips have fallen means that he could meet Djokovic in semis.
That’s good news for second seed Nadal though who takes centre stage in the bottom half of the draw. There is a potential semi against Dominic Thiem for Nadal. The two met in the quarter-finals last year at the US Open and Nadal won an epic match in just under 5 hours. The highest-ranked player in Nadal’s quarter is Germany’s Alexander Zverev (6th seed).
Will there be a title defence by Djokovic? History created by Federer? A fourth title for Nadal? Or will the Field spring the biggest surprise of all?