Here are the Top-5 women and men to watch at this year’s U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows:
Women to watch
Some oddsmakers have her Over/Under for wins at the tournament at 1.5, because she would be an underdog against slumping No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round. But first the retiring legend must get past her first-rounder against 80th-ranked Danka Kovinic to prolong this Flushing retirement celebration for the GOAT.
2. Iga Swiatek
The Polish star was the Rock of Gibraltar with a 37-match winning streak that ended at Wimbledon. The streak was mentally taxing, but she could reemerge to win this as he has every stroke.
3. Coco Gauff
The Delray Beach, Fla., teenaged phenom had a breakthrough in Paris, marching to the French Open final. It could be time for Coco to make her Open splash at 18, as she’s been in good form.
4. Naomi Osaka
Despite her quirks and hiccups, Osaka has won the Open twice and can’t be dismissed despite losing her first match in the two Open tune-ups in Toronto and Cincinnati. Osaka did that also in 2018 and won the Open.
5. Leylah Fernandez
The forever-smiling Canadian lefty teenager was the success story of the women’s field last year, bouncing all the way to the Open final, but has suffered foot injuries in 2022 since she became famous.
Men to watch
The Spanish legend has a history of downplaying his chances and exaggerating his bad health before winning majors. But this abdominal surgery and tentativeness/rustiness prevents him from being the clear favorite with Novak Djokovic on an unvaccinated vacation.
2. Daniil Medvedev
The Open championship quieted a roaring Ashe Stadium to prevent Djokovic’s historic 2021 Grand Slam. The Russian isn’t playing his best, but his variety of groundstrokes make him the favorite on these fast hardcourts.
3. Carlos Alcaraz
The Spanish teenager had his breakout at last year’s Open, and no one would be shocked if the charismatic kid wins his first major here with the fans he has attracted in New York.
4. Nick Kyrgios
The Wimbledon finalist may not even get past his first-round match against his doubles partner Thanasi Kokkinakis on Monday night, but it will be fun to watch his trademark Flushing bad-boy meltdown.
5. Taylor Fritz
We’re still waiting for an American male to step up at the Open. Fritz is entering his prime with no more excuses. Even Fritz, 24, admitted at his press conference he’s “starting to get old.’’