This week, the US Open returns to Flushing Meadows for its 142nd edition, and it’s set to be one of the most intriguing tournaments in years. Novak Djokovic returns to the hardcourts of Queens for the first time since 2021, after missing last year’s tournament because he was (and remains) unvaccinated against COVID-19.
He and everyone else is clamoring for a matchup with reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated The Joker in a five-set classic at Wimbledon. But it was Djokovic who had the latest laugh after taking down Alcaraz at the finals of the Cincinnati Masters just weeks ago.
Related: The Best Tennis Shoes of 2023
While Djokovic has returned to reclaim his place as the king of New York, the Serbian hasn’t won the US Open since 2018. Since Rafael Nadal (who is still out with an injury) won the tournament in 2019, three different first-time grand slam winners (Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, and Alcaraz) have stood atop the podium.
Will the chaos continue and a new ruler be crowned come September, might everyone get the matchup they’re waiting for, or will a previous winner return to reclaim the title?
Here’s who has the best chance of winning the US Open 2023.
It’s been a heck of a 2023 for Djokovic, who started off the year by winning both the Australian Open and the French Open. As most tennis fans know, he lost a classic that some are signaling as a true changing of the guard to Alcaraz at Wimbledon—but Djokovic recently returned to beat Alcaraz in another classic at Cincinnati.
Djokovic has a possible round of 16 matchup with Felix Auger-Aliassime that could be intriguing. The 23-year-old Canadian has tons of talent and made the semifinals of the 2021 US Open, but has yet to go any further while struggling with injuries and form this year. If Djokovic wins that match, he faces a possible quarterfinal vs. Tsitsipas and then a semifinal against world number four Holger Rune.
The 2022 US Open champion has managed to keep pace with the rising pressure. After losing in the semifinal of the French Open to Djokovic, Alcaraz returned to beat him at Wimbledon. Things haven’t been completely smooth sailing since, however, as he lost to Djokovic in the finals at Cincinnati and to American Tommy Paul in the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open.
While a possible round of 16 matchup against Cam Norrie looms, Alcaraz shouldn’t face too much of a challenge until the quarterfinals when he could find himself up against Zverev (who has beat him both times they’ve faced off on hardcourt, but Alcaraz did defeat him on clay earlier this year) or world No. 6 Jannik Sinner.
It’s been a rough 2023 for Medvedev. The 27-year-old Russian followed up a third round exit at the 2023 Australian Open with a surprising first round loss at the French Open. Things got better at Wimbledon, until he ran into Alcaraz in the semis, where the 2021 US Open champ fell to the 2022 winner in straight sets.
Still, there’s no reason to count out Medvedev who has already proven he can win on tennis’ biggest stage. A possible round of 16 match against Alex de Minaur could be interesting for both players, as victory there should give either a good chance to reach the semis.
Related: 25 Benefits of Running You Need to Know
After winning the Canadian Open, Sinner stumbled at Cincinnati, losing in the round of 32 to 33-year-old Serbian Dušan Lajović. Still, the 22-year-old Italian has had a hell of a summer, reaching the semifinals of Wimbledon. At last year’s US Open, he fell to Alcaraz in five sets in the quarters, so there’s high expectations for Sinner entering this year’s tournament.
Sinner faces another possible quarterfinal against Alcaraz, which would be a heck of a matchup between two of the games brightest young stars. If he manages to fight his way through that, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him as the latest young star crowned in Flushing.
Alex de Minaur
The 24-year-old defeated Medvedev at the Canadian Open in the run up to the US Open, only to lose to Sinner in the final. He then fell early in Cincinnati, which should have given him ample time to rest up heading into the US Open. De Minaur hasn’t shown his finest form at Grand Slams this year, but possesses enough talent to surprise many, as he did on his way to the finals at the Queen’s Club Championships.
If De Minaur were to win a possible round of 16 match against Medvedev, he could face Matteo Berrettini—the man who unceremoniously booted him out of Wimbledon in the second round—or eighth ranked Andrey Rublev.
Back in January, Stefanos Tsitsipas reached the finals of the 2023 Australian Open. Despite a straight sets loss to Djokovic, it seemed like the 25-year-old Greek had finally separated himself from the rest of the crowd. The rest of 2023, however, has been somewhat of a disappointment. He went down in the quarterfinal to Alacaraz at the French Open. Then he lost to Cinderella story Chris Eubanks in the round of 16 at Wimbledon.
This year’s draw should prove very interesting for Tsitsipas. He faces a round three rematch against the man who defeated him at Wimbledon, Eubanks. If he gets through that, he could face American Taylor Fritz—who he has beaten three out of four times—followed by a possible matchup against world No. 5 Casper Ruud or world No. 10 Frances Tiafoe. If he makes it to the semis, he could face Djokovic.
Rune did not have an easy run-up to the US Open. He followed up a loss at the Canadian Masters in the Round of 32 to an unranked American with another loss to an unranked American in the Round of 16 at the Canadian Open. Factoring in that he does not like his court assignment and the 20-year-old Dane might just not have his head in the right place going into the tournament.
Still, you can’t discount Rune following his quarterfinal run at Wimbledon—and the expectation is that the former juniors No. 1 will put it all together at one point. Staring down a possible Djokovic semifinal, he’ll have to beat world No. 14 Tommy Paul—who has been playing extremely well, even beating Alcaraz in Canada—on his way there.
Related: Best Dumbbells for Your Home Gym in 2023
Former world No. 2, Alexander Zverev, has had an up-and-down year. After losing in the second round at the Australian Open, he made it to the semifinals of the French Open before losing in the third round of Wimbledon. He then lost in the round of 32 in Canada, but then made it to the semifinals of Cincinnati, which basically means anything could happen with Zverev at the 2023 US Open—especially considering he has made it to the finals here before (losing to Thiem in five sets).
A possible round of 16 match against Sinner could prove interesting, assuming Zverev gets there. After that, he might face Alcaraz in the quarters, followed by Medvedev in the semis, making the 26-year-old German’s run to a second US Open final one of the more difficult out there.