US Open 2023 preview: Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Ija Swiatek and Coco Jove to challenge in New York
Sketch of US Open stars Coco Gauff, Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic

place: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: August 28 – September 10
coverage: Daily live text and radio commentary across the BBC Sport website and app, BBC Radio 5 Live and 5 Sports Extra

The possibility of the stellar rivalry between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz continuing in another Grand Slam final will be a major theme when the US Open begins in New York on Monday.

Serbian Djokovic, 36, and Spaniard Alcaraz, 20, may be at opposite ends of their careers, but the duo side by side as the best men’s players in the world.

Few will look further than the joint favorites to win the men’s singles at Flushing Meadows, as Djokovic seeks a record-equalling 24th major singles title and Alcaraz attempts to defend the title he won last year.

Poland All your sweas She remains the woman to beat as the world number one tries to repeat her maiden Grand Slam victory on hard courts.

On the shoulder of the 22-year-old in the rankings is a group of proven talent, led by the Australian Open champion Arina Sabalenka and home players Coco Jove And Jessica Pegula.

From a British point of view, Britain’s Andy Murray He is expected to be fit enough to participate however Emma Raducano Missing as she continues to return from injury.

With this year’s Grand Slam final looming, BBC Sport looks back at the talking points in New York.

Can anyone stop Alcaraz and Djokovic?

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic pose with their trophies after the Cincinnati final
Djokovic defeated Alcaraz in the Cincinnati Classic final last week, their third meeting in three months

Such was the quality of Alcaraz and Djokovic over the past 12 months that some pre-tournament expectations deviated from the men’s final in New York.

The duo hold all four major titles, which helps create a gap between them and the rest of the ATP rankings.

Djokovic, who returned to the US Open after missing last year’s tournament due to not being vaccinated against COVID-@DIGITS, will regain the top rankings from Alcaraz if he wins his opening match.

Alcaraz won his first major title at Flushing Meadows in the absence of Djokovic, and he won another title at Wimbledon last month by defeating the Serbian player in an exciting final.

The developing rivalry between them was slow.

Things were tense at the start of the season, but with the pair absent from the major tournaments, there was little chance for the pair to compete on the court.

And now the rivalry has heated up over the past few months after three strong encounters in the semi-finals of the French Open, Wimbledon and the Cincinnati final last week.

Alcaraz and Djokovic can’t meet at the US Open until the final due to their being the top seeds.

Players like the 2021 champion Daniel Medvedev, Finalist last year casper Road, emerging power Holger Ron Or the recent Toronto champ Yannick Sinner – all of whom have suffered heavy losses to Alcaraz or Djokovic at the Grand Slams this year – look better placed to challenge them.

Rafael Nadal, Djokovic’s longtime rival, who plans to retire next year, is absent as he continues his recovery from hip surgery that sidelined him for almost the entire season.

Carlos Alcaraz is the top seed in the men's singles, followed by Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev, Holger Rohn, Casper Ruud, Yannick Sinner, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrei Rublev.
* denotes a Russian or Belarusian athlete competing as a neutral athlete

Is this Jove time and will Swathik’s stranglehold end?

Expectations have surrounded Goff ever since she burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old phenom in 2019.

The American’s progress since then has been significant but steady, becoming a regular in the world’s top 10 over the past 12 months without winning a major singles title.

After a modest first-round defeat at Wimbledon, the 19-year-old did some soul-searching, and her work with new coach Pere Ripa, plus the input of experienced consultant Brad Gilbert, helped resolve inconsistencies in her game.

The results have been clear. Gauff won the biggest titles of her career in Washington and Cincinnati this month, putting her among the top contenders at the US Open.

No American has won a singles title since Sloane Stephens in 2017 but third seed Pegula offers another real hope of a champion on home soil.

Pegula, 29, was victorious at the Canadian Open in Montreal – the other biggest tournament in the run-up to the US Open – and hopes to turn her consistency on the tour into her first major success.

Ija Swiatek and Coco Gauff shake hands after the Cincinnati semi-finals
Gauff (right) beat Swatic for the first time in her eight bouts en route to the Cincinnati title

Just as a year ago when she won her first US Open title, Swiatek is still the favorite – despite being under increasing pressure from her closest rivals.

She tops the world rankings after another impressive year on the WTA Tour, winning 53 out of 62 matches and claiming four titles.

But Swiatek lost to Gauff and Pegula in knockouts in Cincinnati and Montreal, while her hold on the world number one is once again under threat from number two Sabalenka.

The 25-year-old Belarusian will lead the rankings for the first time if she matches Swiatek’s performance in New York.

Pegula’s persistence has helped her break away from the so-called “big three” of Swiatek, Sabalenka and Kazakhstan. elena Rybakina, Who hopes to overcome the physical problems that have bothered her in recent months.

Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova Playing in its first major tournament since becoming a Grand Slam winner, while Tunisia Our Jaber – Lost to the Czechs in the All England Club final and finished runner-up at Flushing Meadows last year – and is hoping for a major title at last.

Twice champion Venus Williams43, is set to play in the 24th US Open – a record in the Open era for single appearances – after receiving a wildcard.

Denmark ranked first in the world previously Caroline Wozniacki She also received an allowance card after the 33-year-old mother of two announced that she had returned from retirement.

Ija Swiatek is the top seed in the women's singles, followed by Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula, Elena Rybakina, Onnes Jabeur, Coco Jove, Caroline Garcia and Maria Sakkari.
* denotes a Russian or Belarusian athlete competing as a neutral athlete

Murray is ready to lead the British challenge

Murray, 36, suffered an abdominal injury during the build-up to the tournament, which led to his withdrawal from the Toronto and Cincinnati tournaments as a result.

While the problem left him unable to serve, the former world number one, who won the first of his three grand slam titles at the 2012 US Open, was able to practice for the past week.

Murray is one of six Britons to gain direct entry into the main draw at Flushing Meadows, joining them Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Katie Poulter, Judy Berg And Jack Draper.

But Raducanu is absent and is recovering from wrist and ankle surgeries.

The 20-year-old, who memorably made history by winning the 2021 title as a qualifying youngster, had the surgery in May and hopes to make a competitive return to the pitch before the end of the season.

Replay the video to help the referees

Technology has been an essential part of the sport for many years, but it will be used for a new purpose at the US Open.

The tournament has introduced a video-assisted review system so chair referees can immediately check for incidents – such as double rebounds, obstructions and player touching the ball or the net – in case a player challenges the ball.

“We’ve never had before where referees would be so handy,” said Stacy Allaster, US Open tournament director.

But one thing that has remained the same is the tournament night schedule.

Ending matches in the wee hours of the night has been a regular concern for players, but organizers have resisted calls to change the fixture schedule to avoid possible late conclusions.

The night tournaments at the US Open start at 19:00 in New York and include two matches, which means finishing in the wee hours is common.

“At the moment we are continuing the course with two matches on two nights,” Alastair said. “We will continue to assess the matter.”

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