Novak Djokovic out of the 2022 U.S. Open, Serena Williams gets tough road, and other key takeaways from the draw

Novak Djokovic will miss the U.S. Open
FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2021, file photo, Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, returns a shot to Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, during the men’s singles final of the U..S. Open tennis championships in New York. Djokovic will not play in the U.S. Open, as expected, because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus is not allowed to travel to the United States. Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the year’s last Grand Slam tournament on Twitter on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022, hours before the draw for the event was revealed. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

The 2022 U.S. Open main draw will begin on Monday, August 29th, but will be without a few key names. 

When the official draw was announced on Thursday, the most notable name missing was former world number one Novak Djokovic. The Serbian announced his withdrawal from the U.S. Open just hours before the draw was finalized, but that action appears to be wholly performative. Djokovic was not going to be allowed to complete since he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is not allowed to travel to the United States.

Djokovic, who won the 2022 Wimbledon tournament, was also not allowed to participate in the Australian Open due to his COVID vaccination status

While there is no vaccine mandate for the tournament, so unvaccinated American players are able to compete, the United States Tennis Association has stated that it will follow government rules about vaccination status. At this time, foreign citizens who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are currently unable to enter the U.S or Canada.  

Other notable omissions from the 2022 U.S. Open draw are Rodger Federer and Alexander Zverev, who are recovering from injury, and former number one Angelique Kerber will be out as she is preparing for the birth of her first child

Takeaways from the U.S. Open Women’s Draw

In what could be Serena Williams’ last tournament, the future Hall of Famer, who will be unseeded for the tournament, was placed at the bottom of the draw with an opening road matchup against Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic. However, if Williams were to win, she would face number two seed Anett Kontabeit of Estonia in the second round. 

Williams’ portion of the draw also features Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, last year’s U.S. Open finalist Leylah Fernandez, and 10th seed Daria Kasatkina. 

Elsewhere, 19th-seeded American Danielle Collins was done no favors with a first-round matchup against former world number one Naomi Osaka. Even if Collins were to advance from that tough test, her quarter of the draw features eight women who have either won a Grand Slam singles title, been to a final, or been ranked number one in the world. That includes Emma Raducanu and American great Venus Williams. 

Poland’s Iga Swiatek remains the favorite despite battling through injuries of late. She has a potential second-round matchup against 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and would have to face top-seeded American Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals if both of them were to advance. 

The full women’s U.S. Open draw can be seen here. 


Takeaways from the U.S. Open Men’s Draw

Taylor Fritz, the highest-seeded American men’s player, was placed in the portion of the draw featuring 4th-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. Fritz will face a qualifier in the first round but could face a tough challenge in the third round against former world number three Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland or 21st seed Botic van de Zandschulp of Holland. 

Waiting beyond that would, likely, be a fourth-round showdown with 5th-ranked Casper Ruud of Norway and then Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals, if the Greek player can advance past 30th-seeded American Maxime Cressy and 13th-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini.

Ruud has two other Americans who could potentially be on his road to face Fritz, including 29th-seed Tommy Paul or unranked Sebastian Korda. 

Elsewhere on the men’s side, 22nd-seeded American Frances Tiafoe finds himself in a difficult quarter that includes Rafael Nadal, Diego Schwartzman, and Andrey Rublev. Tiafoe will take on fellow American Marcos Giron in the first round and could be set up for a matchup with the Argentian Schwartzman in the third round. That is if Schwartzman can survive his first-round matchup with American Jack Sock. 

One of the most exciting first-round matchups could be in Carlos Alcaraz’s quarter as the exciting young Spaniard is set to face another explosive young player in Argentina’s Sebastian Baez. Waiting for Alcaraz in the third round, if he advances, could be 25th-seeded Croatian Borna Coric or American Jenson Brooksby, if the young American can keep his recent run of good tennis going. 

Without Djokovic in the field, the men’s side is wide open. Any of a handful of players could make a legit claim to being the favorite, but the number one seed will still be Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who was not allowed to play at Wimbledon due to Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine.  

Medvedev will face American Stefan Kozlov in the first round and might not get a real test until the fourth round when he will likely face either 16th-seed Roberto Bautista Agut or Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios. 

For more tennis coverage, like this U.S. Open draw article, visit AMNY.com

Serena Williams is unseeded in the 2022 U.S. Open
Serena Williams practices at Arthur Ashe Stadium before the start of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)