Novak Djokovic has once again shown the world that tennis’s greatest villain is still winning, and he is not planning to stop. Taking three out of tennis’s four Grand Slams this year, Djokovic has shown the world why he is still at the top of the ladder in men’s tennis. However, this US Open showed us that although there is no replacement for the big 3 (Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer), there is a bright future in men’s tennis and there are experienced players that can help that transition happen. Once again, the US Open brought surprises, new talents, and incredible matches.
Let’s start with the surprises, Holger Rune who is fourth in the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking lost in the first round to Roberto Cabralles Baena a 30-year-old who is ranked 60th. Casper Ruud, another player predicted to join Rune and Carlos Alcaraz making up the big 3 of the future of tennis, lost in the second round to Zhang Zhizhen, ranked 61 in the ATP ranking, in five sets. Stefanos Tsitsipas had a three tie breaks five set match against Steve Stricker which he surprisingly lost, marking one of the biggest disappointments in the men’s bracket. Another impressive victory was Matteo Arnaldi taking Cameron Norrie out in the third round in only 3 sets with no tie breaks. In the third round, we
almost had one of the biggest surprises of the tournament, Novak lost the first two sets 6-4, 6-4 to Djere, but after giving his fellow Serbian citizen some hope he won the next three sets 1-6, 1-6, 3-6. Even though Ruud and Rune, two guys called to succeed the throne currently held by Novak, Nadal, and Federer, did not perform as expected, there were other players that had an impressive tournament.
Starting off with one of the best players of the tournament, Ben Shelton came into the tournament as a relative unknown within the men’s bracket. Yet, Shelton found his way all the way to the semifinals where he lost to Djokovic. However, he took out some big names like Frances Tiafoe in 4 sets, and Tommy Paul also in 4 sets. Impressive performance by the 19-year-old who for sure we will be hearing a lot more about now. Carlos Alcaraz was one of the favorites and although many, including himself were disappointed with his performance, he still played amazing. Alcaraz showed once again that he is probably the best player in the world when playing close to the net. However, Daniil Medvedev’s amazing serve and some mistakes cost Alcaraz that semifinal. But Alcaraz still has plenty of time to show why he is a potential successor to the Big 3, he is only 20 years old, and he already has two grand slams and four Masters 1000 (some of the most important tournaments of the ATP Tour). Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Tommy Paul all had great performances that combined with Ben Shelton made the Americans the most impressive group of the men’s tournament. The Russians Medvedev and Andrey Rublev showed that Russia is still towards the
top of the world in tennis, led by Medvedev.
But at the end of the day, the story of the US Open once again is Novak Djokovic. “Nole” moved to the first place of the ATP rankings, putting Alcaraz in second. With 91 ATP tournaments won including 24 Grand Slams, Novak could be the new greatest tennis player of all time. Novak has always been looked down when talking about the big three. Unlike Roger and Rafa, the kings of grass courts and clay courts, respectively, “Nole” is the king of hard courts with 14 Grand Slam titles. He already passed them in Grand Slam titles, and with Federer retired and Nadal constantly dealing with knee injuries and close to retirement, Novak is definitely in the GOAT conversation.
That was the 2023 men’s singles US Open. Many upsets, great matches, young talents, experienced players showing that they are at the top of their game, and Novak Djokovic. Just mentally destroying opponents, showing excellent physical condition, and playing fantastic tennis. Once again, Mister Novak “Nole” Djokovic, the greatest villain in tennis, the new #1 in the ATP ranking, and the greatest player in the world, despite what Federer and Nadal fans may think.
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