Djokovic ready to return to US Open spotlight

Djokovic ready to return to US Open spotlight

Novak Djokovic returns to the US Open spotlight on Monday as the three-time champion takes centre stage on opening night at the season’s final Grand Slam.

Prevented from playing in last year’s US Open due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic will begin his quest to match Margaret Court’s all-time record haul of 24 Grand Slams on Arthur Ashe Stadium against Frenchman Alexandre Muller, who is making his main draw debut at Flushing Meadows.

If the 36-year-old Serb reaches the second round he will return to world number one on September 11, bumping Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz from the top spot.

It is not often Iga Swiatek is the opening act but the women’s world number one and defending champion kicked off centre court action against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in front of a sparse sleepy morning audience.

Swiatek and Peterson have met twice before at the Australian and French Opens where the Pole swept aside the Swede in straight sets.

Americans will have plenty to cheer with men’s 10th seed Frances Tiafoe facing compatriot Learner Tien on Arthur Ashe while women’s sixth seed Coco Gauff, fresh off her win at the Cincinnati Open, opening her account against Germany’s Laura Siegemund.

Charismatic Christopher Eubanks, who grabbed the limelight with an unexpected run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals, will have the crowd in his corner when he takes on South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.

The US Open will also welcome back fan favourite and twice finalist Caroline Wozniacki, who retired in 2020 to raise a family.

The Dane will face Russia’s Tatiana Prozorova, who is making her Grand Slam debut.

A return to competition has been predictably bumpy for the former-world number one who lost in the second round in Montreal and in the first round in Cincinnati earlier this month in her first two tournaments back.


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