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Djokovic, champion to beat; Nadal, his great rival; Del Potro, the great absentee

Djokovic, champion to beat;  Nadal, his great rival;  Del Potro, the great absentee

The figure of the Serbian Novak Djokovic will regain strength when this Monday he begins on the slopes of Flushing Meadows (New York), the defense of the title of the last Grand Slam tournament of the season, the United States Open, and is also the player to beat.

Meanwhile, the Spanish Rafael Nadal, will be the most difficult rival he can face, if both reach the final, and the Argentine Juan Martín del Potro, who last year fought with Djokovic for the title, the great absent, due to an injury.

Djokovic, world number one, will seek his fourth title (2011, 2015 and 2018) at Flushing Meadows. The Serbian arrives as the great favorite to repeat his feat, something that no one has achieved since 2008 when the Swiss Roger Federer achieved the fifth in a row.

It is true that Djokovic, 32, lost in the semifinals of the Masters 1,000 in Cincinnati against Russian Daniil Medvedev, the fittest tennis player of the month of August, who played three finals and won one, but did so in a tournament for the best of three sets and after being snatched a one-set lead and a 3-2 run in the second.

The Serbian tennis player, winner this season of the Australian Open and Wimbledon will try to achieve the third of the year and the seventeenth as a professional, one less than the 18 owned by Nadal, who also has three wins at the US Open.

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Djokovic will start his career against Spanish Roberto Carballés, 26, 76 in the world, who will have the opportunity to face the best in the world for the first time in his career.

Then, Djokovic’s journey, as in any Grand Slam tournament, in theory and if there are no surprises, he could face him in the quarterfinals against Medvedev, fifth seeded, and with complete security and learned the lesson of what happened to him Cincinnati , the one from Belgrade will try to take revenge.

Nadal, 33, also enters the final Grand Slam tournament of the season as Djokovic’s top contender for the throne, in top form, rested, after winning in Montreal and resting afterwards, without playing in Cincinnati.

But also with the confidence of being the only one to have a Grand Slam title so far this season, the one he won for the twelfth time at Roland Garros.

The first hurdle Nadal will have to overcome will be the Australian John Millman, 30, number 61 in the world, who was Federer’s executioner in the previous edition of the US Open.

But the Manacor tennis player has a 1-0 lead in the only duel he had with Millman, in the first round of Wimbledon in 2017, where Nadal won 6-1, 6-3 and 6-2.

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Former champions and television commentators do not doubt that Nadal will be the only rival who can overshadow Djokovic, win him and prevent him from repeating the title, if both reach the grand final.

By legend and career in the United States Open, where Federer has in his possession six titles, including five in a row, the only one who has achieved it in the Open Era, the Swiss tennis player is also part of the ‘Big 3’ that aspires to win at Flushing Meadows.

His first rival will be a complete stranger, the Indian Sumit Nagal, 22 years old, number 190 in the world, who reached the main draw from the previous one, and that the only way to be remembered will be if he gave the surprise and defeats the winner of 20 Grand Slam titles, who is aware that he does not arrive as a favorite, and hence the extra work he has done.

The surprise defeat in Cincinnati against Russian Andrey Rublev, another 22-year-old, who entered the picture coming from the previous one, was a warning for Federer, 38, who has been the first to arrive in the Big Apple and prepare to background the last Grand Slam tournament.

Along with the great favorites, there will again be the young values ​​who seek to occupy the positions that in their day will be left by those who make up the ‘Big 3’, and on that list are the Austrian Dominic Thiem, fourth seeded, Medvedev (5) , the German Alexander Zverev (6) and the Japanese Kei Nishikori (7), finalist in the 2014 edition.

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The great absentee of the tournament and one of the favorites of the New York fans will be del Potro, who again an injury has left him out of a tournament where he was champion in 2009 and fought for the title later, in 2018 against Djokovic.

Del Potro, who underwent surgery last June for a fractured right knee, has not arrived in time to compete at Flushing Meadows, and Argentine and Latin American tennis have been left without the only one who had aspirations to fight for the title .

Nor will the South African Kevin Anderson, a finalist in 2017, who is also injured in his right knee and will be out this year.

The tournament, which ends on September 8, will once again leave a mark of 28.7 million dollars in prizes, which will be distributed equally between players.

Meanwhile, it is expected that more than 800,000 fans will come to the courts of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to witness the greatest sports and entertainment show, which each year at this time makes Flushing Meadows the capital of world tennis.

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