ATP

Djokovic, young superstars lead W&S Open field; draw released 08/20

Novak Djokovic and his young rivals are only a few days away from resuming their seasons at the 2020 Western & Southern Open.

Novak Djokovic and his young top ten rivals lead the field at the ATP’s return to action from the COVID-19 shutdown. While the Prague Open challenger event has already begun (headlined by Stan Wawrinka), half of the tour’s top ten have made it to New York for the first Masters 1000 event of 2020.

Leading the way in World  #1 Djokovic. He’s rolling into the United States with a perfect 18-0 record and currently holds two titles so far this year (Australian Open def. Thiem, and Dubai def. Tsitsipas). He’s the favorite to win both titles in New York (W&S Open was moved to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to create an effective bubble).

Djokovic’s biggest rivals will be gunning for him for the next month, however. Defending Cincinnati champion and US Open, Daniil Medvedev, has sputtered out since his hot summer 2019 campaign, contributing only an 8-8 record since losing to Nadal last September in New York. Nevertheless, he’ll look to rebound and repeat his stunning few months from last year.

Arguably Djokovic’s biggest competitor will be World #3, Dominic Thiem. The Austrian has reached 3 Grand Slam Finals (his young counterparts haven’t reached any) in Australia and Roland Garros. Thiem had Djokovic on the ropes in Melbourne this past January before the now eight-time champion came back from two sets to one down to defend his title.

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are two of Djokovic’s toss-up competitors this upcoming week. If they’re on their games, they might prove as a greater threat than Theim and Medvedev. Zverev peaked at the right time this year, reaching the Australian Open semifinals before losing to Thiem in four sets. He’s looked very solid as of late; he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime for the UTS2 title two weeks ago.

Tsitsipas, like Zverev, will need to get hot in order to have a real shot against Djokovic and Thiem. After bowing out in the Round of 16 at this year’s Australian Open, he defeated Auger-Aliassime for the Marseille title and lost to Djokovic in the Dubai finals to get his post-AO 2020 record to 11-2. This, coupled with his dominating 2nd-place finish at the inaugural UTS event in July, could prove to be the reasoning behind his stellar play this month.

It’ll be key for Djokovic to have a hot start to his tennis return; a victory at the Western & Southern Open could lead the way to a dominating US Open victory. It won’t be easier, however. Thiem and the bunch are right on his tails to take the reigns from him at the top of the tour. The changing of the guard could begin as soon as this month.

Next: Why there's no asterisk for this year's US Open winners

Main draw action at the W&S Open begins August 22nd. The draw is scheduled to be released on August 20th.