Nadal shooting for Slam 23
Considering his persistent injury concerns, 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal heads to Flushing Meadows in prime position to regain the No.1 ranking for the first time since February 2020.
The Roland-Garros winner, taking on Australia’s wild card Rinky Hijikata, is back in contention following an abdominal tear suffered at Wimbledon, and will sit at the rankings peak should Medvedev, Tsitsipas, Ruud or Carlos Alcaraz fail to reach the final.
Nadal, champion in New York in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, has dangerous talent such as Denis Shapovalov, Holger Rune and Andrey Rublev in that bottom quarter.
Plenty of eyes will be on his compatriot Alcaraz. The Spanish teenager continues to amaze, chalk up milestone results and ping highlight reel shots.
The explosive 19-year-old has all the ingredients to better his 2021 last eight venture in New York. Could fellow NextGen prospect Sebastian Baez spring a shock in the first round?
Night matches in New York seem very fitting for the Alcaraz brand of tennis.