The 142nd edition of the US Open had to do without Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The former played his last competitive match at Wimbledon last year due to a knee injury; while the second could not reach New York due to the entry regulations in force in the United States.
The one from Belgrade has waited until the last moment to be able to take the field in Flushing Meadows, but in order to enter the US, foreigners still have to show the vaccination certificate. However, Djokovic, after winning Wimbledon, confirmed his choice over the vaccine.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, is the only one of the Big 3 who has participated in the US Open. The Mallorcan did not appear in his best physical condition, the abdominal injury undoubtedly affected his preparation, and he lost in four sets against one of the best versions of Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16.
The protagonists of the American Grand Slam final were Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud, who were at stake for first place in the world ranking and the first Major of their career. The US Open final was won by Alcaraz in 4 sets: the young Spaniard is also the new world number 1.
He is also the youngest player in the Open Era to win the US Open and become world No. 1 in the same final, a very amazing achievement for this era of tennis. Even though Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have won the first three Grand Slams of 2022, Mats Wilander believes that tennis is undergoing the ultimate generational change.
He explained: "We are certainly witnessing a generational change. Obviously, in this case, it is also due to some external factors. Roger Federer is still injured. Rafael Nadal did not have time to prepare in the best way and be 100% in New York.
Novak Djokovic could not play because he was not vaccinated."
Carlos Alcaraz won the 2022 US Open
Former World No. 3 David Ferrer has stated that Carlos Alcaraz is Rafael Nadal's natural successor in a recent interview with Marca.
"It is clear that Carlos is a blessing. We have Rafa Nadal, who is unique, but the truth is that we have relief because he is a different player, special. Rafa Nadal is unique, but Carlos is his natural successor; he has something different," Ferrer said.
"Yes, it is surprising how he has faced favoritism and pressure at 19 years old. He has something different from the others as in his day happened with Rafa, Federer and Djokovic. He is a tennis player who possesses all the shots and dominates the point. He is humble and wants to continue learning every day," Ferrer said.