There is still a lot of time from here to the US Open 2020. It is not known yet if the New York Slam will be played, nor what will be the players who will go to play in the USA. After the cancellation of the Citi Open in Washington, the Summer on the American hard-courts reduced to just two events, the Western and Southern and then the US Open, both in Flushing Meadows.
Everyone is waiting for news from USTA, but in the meantime it is still unclear who will or will not be at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. We know for sure that Roger Federer will be out until early 2021, after the second surgery on his right knee.
The most pressing uncertainties are those of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. For different reasons the presence of the two champions is in doubt. This means that Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios and Alexander Zverev could have a truly unique chance.
In the middle, however, there are the old champions who could be in New York, such as Stan Wawrinka, Andy Muray and Marin Cilic, ready to conquer the Slam if Nadal and Djokovic were to be out.
Between motivations, presences and absences
Rafael Nadal is making a simple assessment: skip the US Open and play the clay-season in Europe in the Autumn.
The Spaniard is the defending champion in both New York and Paris, but the Roland Garros will start only two weeks after the final of the US Open and, in the middle, there will be the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid and Rome. Nadal could therefore decide to play only Madrid and the French Open, not flying to New York and perhaps not even playing in Rome.
Novak Djokovic is making different assessments, more related to personal aspects. After the disaster of the Adria Tour and the positivity at Covid-19, the Serb is still not sure whether to play in New York, especially due to the global pandemic that is mowing down the USA.
He and his staff are wondering if it is better to go to the USA or directly play the clay-season in Europe. So its participation is in doubt. With the absences of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal, young people, outsiders and other champions can aim for victory.
Dominic Thiem, two-time French Open finalist and Australian Open 2020 finalist, seems to be the best prepared to win a Slam. Medvedev is the defending finalist, so clearly he will have a good chance of emulating the last edition.
Tsitsias and Kyrgios follow them: the Greek is doing well on fast surfaces, but he still has problems with pressure and personality. Kyrgios would need continuity, but without the Big Three his chances would increase exponentially, especially on hard-courts.
Zvevev is the one of them with the least chances. Old champion like Wawrinka and Murray, if of course they were to play in New York, will compete for victory. The eventual absences of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, together with the sure absence of Roger Federer, open new scenarios: all their rivals smell the victory in a Slam. An irresistible taste, even at the cost of challenging a trip to a country heavily affected by the virus.