Are the next two weeks simply a preamble before Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz face off for the fifth time and the first in the US Open final? Fans certainly hope so.
With an assist from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS, let's preview the 2023 US Open men’s draw: the favorites and the sleeper picks to do well at the season’s final Grand Slam in New York.
2023 US Open Men’s Singles Favorites, According to Universal Tennis INSIGHTS
Most Likely to Win 2023 US Open
Novak Djokovic (UTR Rating 16.39*)
Welcome back, Novak! Djokovic hasn’t played at the US Open since 2021, when he was one win shy of achieving the calendar-year Grand Slam but fell to Medvedev in straight sets.
This year Universal Tennis INSIGHTS also has Djokovic as the favorite to take home a record-extending 24th major championship title and his fourth US Open title. The 36-year-old Serbian gutted out an instant classic against Alcaraz in the Cincinnati final, playing three sets in nearly four hours, the longest longest best-of-three final in ATP Tour history, to win 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4).
He and Alcaraz have split their four meetings, with Alcaraz taking down Djokovic in five sets in the Wimbledon final. Djokovic is seeded to meet 15th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round, seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals, and fourth seed Holger Rune of Denmark in the semifinal.
Carlos Alcaraz (16.33)
No matter how the 20-year-old Spaniard does in Queens, he’s likely to leave New York as no longer the No. 1 player in the world. All Djokovic needs to do to reclaim the top spot is win his opening-round match against Alexandre Muller.
But the real prize Alcaraz is chasing is his second US Open crown. Alcaraz held off Casper Ruud in last year’s final to win his maiden major championship title. The 20-year-old Alcaraz stumbled in the Toronto quarterfinals, falling to Tommy Paul. But Alcaraz recovered well in Cincinnati and held a match point in the final against Djokovic.
Alcaraz could meet sixth seed Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals, in what would be a rematch of their 2022 US Open quarterfinal that lasted five hours, 15 minutes and ended at 2:50 a.m. Medvedev could wait in the semifinals.
Most Likely to Go Far
Daniil Medvedev (16.22)
Medvedev started the year on a hard-court tear. He won Dubai, made the finals in Indian Wells, and won the ATP Masters 1000 in Miami. The 2021 US Open champion has yet to find that same level during the North American summer, falling in the quarterfinals in Toronto and the third round in Cincinnati.
But Medvedev has had a special relationship with the US Open for years, and he could find his game quickly. He’ll want to as Max Purcell (15.52) could await in the second round. In Cincinnati, Purcell beat Ruud and pushed Alcaraz to three sets in the quarterfinals.
Jannik Sinner (16.19)
Sinner will want a second look at Alcaraz. The 22-year-old is playing some of his best tennis. He reached the Wimbledon semifinals and won his first Masters 1000 title in Toronto.
Dark Horses at 2023 US Open
Frances Tiafoe (15.81)
INSIGHTS gives Tiafoe just a 2% chance to win his maiden Grand Slam title but Tiafoe showed last year in New York that he can come up with the goods when few expect them. The American upset Rafael Nadal and pushed Alcaraz to five sets in the semifinals.
Tommy Paul (15.92)
Paul will be full of confidence having beaten Alcaraz in Toronto. He also made the Australian Open semifinals in January and will have the home support this time. Paul and Tiafoe are two of the five seeded American men, the most in 19 years.
John Isner (15.36)
Few expect Isner to reach his third US Open quarterfinal in New York. But tip a cap to the 38-year-old American stalwart, who is playing in his 17th and final US Open. The father of four will retire from pro tennis after the 2023 US Open.
Alex Michelsen (15.25), Learner Tien (13.84), Ethan Quinn (14.13)
What does this trio of American men have in common, besides the fact that they all received US Open main draw wild cards? They’ve honed their games on the UTR Pro Tennis Tour!
Michelsen, who has seen his UTR Rating jump from 14.01 to 15.25 in the past eight months, played his first pro tennis match on the UTR PTT in 2021 and won his first PTT title in Newport Beach in 2022.
Tien also has played at the PTT event in Newport Beach and will make his second consecutive US Open main draw appearance. He opens against the 10th-seeded Tiafoe. And before Quinn won the 2023 NCAA men’s singles title for the University of Georgia, he competed on the PTT.
Quinn turned pro after winning the NCAA title, and Michelsen was also committed to play at the University of Georgia this year but turned professional earlier this month.
Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS all tournament long.
*INSIGHTS and UTR Ratings as of 9 a.m. EST, August 25, 2023.