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Ricky’s list of 22 players who have a realistic chance to win the US Open men’s singles title

World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev of Russia aims to defend the US Open. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

By Ricky Dimon

Novak Djokovic, who would be the favorite, is probably out. World No. 2 Alexander Zverev is definitely out. Rafael Nadal has played only one match since Wimbledon. Daniil Medvedev has won just one tournament the entire year. Yes, the U.S. Open is wide open.

At some majors in the Big 3 era, literally a grand total of three guys–Nadal, Djokovic, and Roger Federer, of course–had any hope to win. For the upcoming 2022 U.S. Open, however, a whole host of players can say they have realistic title aspirations.

Here is my list of players who have a non-zero chance to triumph in New York.

Great chance

Daniil Medvedev – The world No. 1 is the defending champion and is well rested. According to the odds, Medvedev is a huge favorite.

Rafael Nadal – When you’re the only one of the Big 3 in the field, you are always among the top favorites.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain reacts after upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their match on the fifth day of the US Open Tennis Championships the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 03 September 2021. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

Best of the rest

Carlos Alcaraz – Alcaraz made a run to the quarterfinals last summer and he is a much different player now. The Spaniard was awesome on American hard courts this spring.

Stefanos Tsitsipas – Tsitsipas is a major finalist and after playing well in Cincinnati it would not be a surprise to see him take the next step.

Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in action against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during a men’s singles semifinal round match on the twelfth day of the US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

Very realistic chance

Felix Auger-Aliassime – Talent-wise, Auger-Aliassime is among the game’s elite. When will he string together seven good matches in a row? Why not now?

Hubert Hurkacz – Hurkacz was the 2021 Miami champion and the recent Montreal runner-up. Now it’s time for him to step up at a slam.

Taylor Fritz – Fritz has been one of the tour’s best players this season. He loves playing at home in the USA and he loves big stages. There is nothing not to like.

Jannik Sinner – Sinner is an amazing 38-11 this year. If not for some injuries, he would be in the top 10. The Italian is more than capable of powering his way to the title.

Nick Kyrgios – With a runner-up showing at Wimbledon, a title in Washington, D.C., and a quarterfinal run in Montreal, Kyrgios has never played better. When he is healthy and motivated, watch out.

Matteo Berrettini of Italy is a former US Open semifinalist. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Small chance…but a chance

Andrey Rublev – In 2020 and 2021, Rublev was right there in the group behind Nadal and Djokovic. He has fallen off a bit, but his forehand alone keeps him in the discussion.

Casper Ruud – Ruud has debunked the myth that he is a clay-court specialist. Although a hard-court slam title is unlikely, it’s possible.

Cameron Norrie – The lefty has proven that his 2021 Indian Wells triumph was no fluke. He is a legitimate top-10 player.

Matteo Berrettini – If not for his sudden Covid-19 case and subsequent absence, Berrettini would be near the top. If he can get a few matches under his belt, the real Berrettini could be on display in week two.

Pablo Carreno Busta – You may not remember, but Carreno Busta is a two-time U.S. Open semifinalist. He also just won the Montreal Masters. This guy is the real deal on hard courts.

Marin Cilic – Although 2014 was a while ago, you can’t take away the fact that Cilic is a U.S. Open champion. When he catches fire (albeit rarely now), he can still produce one of the tour’s best levels.

Borna Coric – Coric completely dominated in Cincinnati, losing only one set (to Nadal) en route to the title. Ranked No. 152 at the time, he will be seeded in New York.

Grigor Dimitrov is a former US Open semifinalist. Photo credit: EPA

Stranger things have happened

John Isner – On any given day, Isner can still take the racket out of anyone’s hands.

Tommy Paul – Paul has played several matches this season at a top-5 level and he is always at his best on American hard courts.

Grigor Dimitrov – The Grand Slam window has probably closed for Dimitrov, but a miracle late-career run to a title isn’t entirely out of the question.

Denis Shapovalov – Similar to Dimitrov, Shapovalov’s natural talent level is such that he could win from out of nowhere.

Alex de Minaur – De Minaur would need a great draw because he doesn’t have the firepower to beat top players. In a depleted field, a great draw is possible.

Karen Khachanov – This is a guy who has a Masters 1000 title and an Olympic silver medal. He can’t be completely counted out on the big stage.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.