US Open 2023: Ranking the tournament’s top players

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It’s time once again for the Chaos Slam.

None of tennis’ biggest tournaments boast the sheer unpredictability of the US Open. In the past nine years, 13 different men and 15 different women have reached the finals — only Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams have done it multiple times in that span — and seven different men and eight women have won the title. There’s evidently something about the buzz of New York (or maybe it’s just the humidity) that brings out both the best and the weirdest moments the sport has to offer.

Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek are your defending champions, and they are among this year’s favorites as well. But no one has repeated as women’s champion since Williams in 2014, and no one has repeated as men’s champ since Roger Federer in 2008. Time to brace ourselves for whatever chaos comes our way. Here are 30 players who could become this year’s main characters.

Tier 1: The favorites

Novak Djokovic
Caesars title odds: +120
Tennis Abstract odds: 41%

Since his most recent US Open title in 2018, Djokovic has won four Australian Opens, three Wimbledons and two French Opens. He was defaulted from the 2020 US Open because he hit a line official with a ball. He lost to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 finals, falling one win short of a calendar Grand Slam. He was denied entry into the U.S. for last year’s tournament because of his continued refusal to get a COVID vaccination.

But he’s back in the States again, he’s coming off of a thrilling Cincinnati title (which included an unreal, three-set finals victory over Alcaraz), and he’s won 43 of his past 46 sets against players not named Alcaraz. Having already tied Serena Williams for the Open era record of 23 Slam titles, he now looks to tie Margaret Court for the overall record of 24. For as unpredictable as the US Open has been through the years, it’s hard to see anyone but Alcaraz knocking him off course over the next two weeks. He’s in great form, and he’s the greatest men’s player ever.

Carlos Alcaraz
Caesars title odds: +150
Tennis Abstract odds: 26%

The burgeoning rivalry between Alcaraz and Djokovic is an absolute thrill. They have played four times, and each has won twice. They’re 1-1 at Slams. Three of their matches were outright classics, and the fourth — a four-set win for Djokovic in the French Open semis — was on its way to being just as good before Alcaraz’s body let him down. If we omit the last two sets of that match, when Alcaraz could hardly move, they’ve played 1,003 points against each other. Alcaraz has won 502, Djokovic 501. You can’t get closer than that.

The difference between them heading into this tournament might simply be that Djokovic is less likely to slip up before a potential meeting in the final. For one thing, Alcaraz’s draw is trickier, with young rival Jannik Sinner (quarterfinals) and 2021 champion Medvedev (semis) potentially in the way. For another, Alcaraz’s attention span has waned this summer. Since winning Wimbledon, he’s played eight matches. He dropped the opening set four times and lost twice (once to Djokovic, once to Tommy Paul), and of his six wins, five went the distance. He responds well to adversity, but he’s created a bit too much for himself of late.

Iga Swiatek
Caesars title odds: +200
Tennis Abstract odds: 30%

Heading into the 2022 US Open, Iga Swiatek was 6-3 lifetime at the tournament. She had gone just 2-2 on the summer hard-court swing. She was the betting favorite because she was the world No. 1, but in the pre-tournament ESPN roundtable, half the votes went to Simona Halep, and only one went to Swiatek. Two-time champion Osaka was still considered dangerous, and the No. 4 betting favorite was defending champion Emma Raducanu.

A year later, Halep is still out under doping suspension, having not played an official match since her first-round US Open upset loss. Raducanu, who also lost in the first round, hasn’t played since April due to wrist and ankle injuries. Osaka also lost in the first round, then stepped away from tennis to have a child. Oh yeah, and Swiatek is now 13-3 lifetime at the US Open. Despite playing three of the top eight seeds and past champion Sloane Stephens, she rolled to the title, dropping just two sets. She’s not a sure thing to defend her title — no one is in New York — but she’s 21-2 over her past four Slams, and unlike last year, she’s enjoyed a solid hard-court summer, going 12-2.

Aryna Sabalenka
Caesars title odds: +440
Tennis Abstract odds: 12%

Swiatek has won three of the past six Slams and four of the past 13. That’s obviously impressive, but Sabalenka has almost topped her from a consistency standpoint. The big-serving 6-footer has made the semis at four straight Slams and six of her past eight. She’s 20-3 at her past four hard-court Slams.

Sabalenka’s form of late has been good, but not necessarily great. After reaching five tournament finals in the first four months of the year, winning three, she’s failed to do so for six straight tournaments. She lost to Liudmila Samsonova in the round of 16 in Montreal and to Karolina Muchova in the semis in Cincinnati, and her double-fault rate was 10% or higher in both matches. Her serve remains temperamental, even though it’s in far better shape than a year ago.

Sabalenka rarely lacks confidence, and while 2022 finalist Ons Jabeur is in her quarter of the draw, she beat Jabeur 7-5, 6-3 in Cincy and has won four of their six battles.

Tier 2: Primary hopefuls

Daniil Medvedev
Caesars title odds: +900
Tennis Abstract odds: 12%

The 27-year-old seemed to clear the ultimate hurdle in sweeping Djokovic in the 2021 US Open final and winning the first two sets of the 2022 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal. But Nadal’s comeback win in Melbourne was a crossroads; Medvedev has made it past the fourth round of just one Slam since. He’s still obviously good, and hard court is still his best surface, but he’s lost five straight sets to Alcaraz (all by 6-3 or worse) and four of five matches to Djokovic. He’s still trying to rediscover that 2021 form.

Coco Gauff
Caesars title odds: +700
Tennis Abstract odds: 9%

Here comes Coco! After seemingly topping out against elite-level competition — she lost 10 of 13 against top-20 opponents between the US Open and French Open — Gauff has since won seven of eight against the top 20 and 11 of 12 overall. She brought in Brad Gilbert as part of her coaching team and won two of her three summer hard-court tournaments. She beat Swiatek for the first time, as well, in a Cincinnati three-setter. Is this where the 19-year-old makes the ultimate breakthrough?

Elena Rybakina

Caesars title odds: +700
Tennis Abstract odds: 9%

The 24-year-old Rybakina is a big-game player. Since winning Wimbledon last year, she’s reached another Slam final (Australia), plus three WTA 1000 finals (she won two). In between, she can suffer through some loose matches, but she shows up for the big events … when her body lets her. She had to withdraw two rounds into the French Open with a virus, and in her last US Open tuneup match, she injured her shoulder. If she’s anywhere near 100%, she’s a contender. But how healthy is she?

Jessica Pegula
Caesars title odds: +1000
Tennis Abstract odds: 7%

With Pegula, the question is always about ceilings. We know her floor is as high as anyone’s. The 29-year-old has reached the quarterfinals of five of her past seven Slams and each of the last three on hard courts. Her Montreal title included wins over Swiatek and Gauff, which was a great sign, but winning seven Slam matches in a row requires as many easy points as possible, and she doesn’t create as many of those as others.

Jannik Sinner
Caesars title odds: +1100
Tennis Abstract odds: 7%

Speaking of ceilings, Sinner’s is as high as anyone’s. And in a world without Alcaraz, we’d be marveling at the 22-year-old’s overall progress: He’s up to sixth in the world, and he’s coming off of his first Slam semifinal appearance at Wimbledon. He hasn’t solved the game’s best veterans, though — he’s a combined 0-9 against Medvedev and Djokovic, and he’s won just five of 25 sets against them — and he might have to get past Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz, Medvedev and Djokovic to take the crown here.

Ons Jabeur
Caesars title odds: +1600
Tennis Abstract odds: 3%

Like Rybakina, Jabeur is a big-game player when her body allows her. She’s reached the finals in three of the past five Slams, but she battled nagging injury and form issues for much of the first half of 2023, and she withdrew from Montreal with injury before winning a couple of matches in Cincinnati. Her draw is in no way favorable, but Big Game Ons lurks as long as the injury bug stays away.

Marketa Vondrousova
Caesars title odds: +2200
Tennis Abstract odds: 5%

She was playing in challengers last fall while battling back from injury. She ranked 105th when she beat Jabeur in the Indian Wells round of 32. She was 42nd when she beat Jabeur again in the Wimbledon final. Now she’s ninth. She was swept away by both Swiatek and Gauff in her two hard-court tuneups, and she’s never done a ton of damage on hard courts, but Vondrousova’s lefty-ninja game is a pain-in-the-butt on all courts.

Karolina Muchova
Caesars title odds: +2000
Tennis Abstract odds: 3%

Like Vondrousova, Muchova began 2023 on the comeback trail, but she’s found both rhythm and confidence this summer. She beat Sabalenka on her way to the French Open final (which she barely lost to Swiatek), and in the summer hard-court swing, she beat Sabalenka again and lost only to Swiatek and a smoking-hot Gauff in Montreal and Cincinnati. She still has her bouts with inconsistency, but if you let her find a rhythm, you’ll regret it.

Holger Rune
Caesars title odds: +4000
Tennis Abstract odds: 3%

Though perhaps not blessed with the same upside as an Alcaraz or Sinner, Rune has put together a strong résumé for a 20-year-old: three Slam quarterfinal appearances, two wins over No. 1s (and an overall record of 7-4 against the top five). But he’s been battling a back injury since his Wimbledon quarterfinal loss to Alcaraz, and he’s in a race to get back to form.

Stefanos Tsitsipas
Caesars title odds: +3000
Tennis Abstract odds: 2%

He fell in the first round of the 2022 US Open, then reached the finals in Australia. He made the finals in Barcelona, then lost to a lucky loser in Madrid. He won in Los Cabos, then lost two of his last three US Open tuneup matches. Figuring out what Tsitsipas is capable of at any given time is a maddening experience. But he’s still got that serve, and he only needs minimal help from his return to make noise.

Alexander Zverev
Caesars title odds: +2500
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.5%

The 2020 US Open finalist is again facing domestic abuse allegations, but after avoiding discipline from earlier allegations, he’s been free to keep working back from last spring’s gruesome ankle injury. He’s 22-6 since the start of the French Open, and he beat Medvedev on his way to the Cincinnati semis.

Elina Svitolina
Caesars title odds: +4000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.4%

You know the story by now. The former world No. 3 stepped away from the tour in 2022 to have a child and raise money for Ukraine’s war efforts. She returned to the tour this spring with an upgraded offense and reached the quarterfinals of the French Open and semis of Wimbledon. The 2019 US Open semifinalist is just 2-2 since Wimbledon, but she beat Victoria Azarenka and took Pegula deep into a third set.

Casper Ruud
Caesars title odds: +4000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.3%

He’s playing golf, he’s throwing out (pretty dang solid) first pitches … Casper Ruud’s living the good life. He’s also struggling to find form off of clay. The two-time French Open finalist is just 7-9 on other surfaces in 2023 and lost two of three US Open tuneups. We know he can do big things on hard courts — he reached the US Open final just last year, after all — but it’s been a while.

Others: Caroline Garcia (No. 7 seed), Maria Sakkari (2021 US Open semifinalist, finalist in Washington), Petra Kvitova (27-10 in 2023), Andrey Rublev (five finals, two titles in 2023), Grigor Dimitrov (two hardcourt semifinals in 2023), Mirra Andreeva (17-6 on tour), Barbora Krejcikova (Dubai champion), Beatriz Haddad Maia (French Open semifinalist)

Tier 3: Other American hopefuls

Madison Keys
Caesars title odds: +4500
Tennis Abstract odds: 2%

The big-hitting 28-year-old reached the US Open finals in 2017 and has made it to four other Slam semifinals (three on hard courts). If she’s allowed to create a rhythm, she can beat anyone. But she’s also only made it past the third round of four of her past 12 Slams.

Taylor Fritz
Caesars title odds: +5000
Tennis Abstract odds: 2%

The 25-year-old has established cruising altitude as a borderline top-10er, and he’s growing more consistent overall against lesser opponents. But after a nice run in the winter and spring, he’s lost four of his past five matches against top-20 opponents. He’s also been strangely ineffective at the US Open (6-7 all-time).

Tommy Paul
Caesars title odds: +6000
Tennis Abstract odds: 1%

If Rune is less than 100%, Paul could be the favorite to advance through Rune’s quarter. The 26-year-old made the Australian Open semis and fought Alcaraz to a stalemate in two summer matches, winning a three-setter in Toronto and losing one in Cincy.

Frances Tiafoe
Caesars title odds: +5000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.7%

Big Foe is still a big threat, as evidenced by last year’s US Open semifinal run. But he’s just 6-3 in Slams this year, and his form suddenly vanished this summer — he’s lost three of his past four matches, none to top-20 opponents. Is this a glitch or a crisis of confidence?

Danielle Collins
Caesars title odds: +5000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.6%

Since reaching the Australian Open final in 2022, the 29-year-old is just 7-6 in Slams. She’s been searching for consistency (and more favorable draws) in 2023, but she looked excellent in Montreal before losing to Swiatek in three sets. Maybe she’s finding a rhythm again?

Sebastian Korda
Caesars title odds: +10000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.1%

Korda looked spectacular in rolling to the Australian Open quarterfinals but suffered a wrist injury that kept him out until late-April. He lost nine of 14 matches but won three in a row this past week at Winston-Salem before withdrawing due to a minor ankle injury. The 23-year-old’s skill set is vast if his body cooperates.

Jennifer Brady
Caesars title odds: +10000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.1%

She’s back! After reaching the 2020 US Open semis and 2021 Australian Open finals, the former UCLA Bruin missed eight straight Slams due to a number of frustrating injuries. But she’s already beaten a pair of top-30 opponents since her return, and her groundstrokes are still huge.

John Isner
Caesars title odds: +30000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.1%

The towering 38-year-old, America’s top male for so long, is retiring after the US Open. And while it’s probably too much to ask for one last dramatic run — he’s lost 10 of his past 14 matches — here’s hoping he plays in one last ridiculous tiebreaker festival.

Others: Sloane Stephens (2017 U.S. Open champion), Chris Eubanks (Wimbledon quarterfinalist), Ben Shelton (Australian Open quarterfinalist), Alycia Parks (Lyon champion), Mackenzie McDonald (20 hard court wins in 2023), J.J. Wolf (Atlanta semifinalist), Alex Michelsen (Newport finalist), Clervie Ngounoue (2023 Wimbledon junior champion)

Tier 4: Summer has been kind to them

Hubert Hurkacz
Caesars title odds: +4500
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.9%

The big server from Poland plays both Alcaraz and Djokovic well, and he went 6-2 in Toronto and Cincinnati with wins over two top-20 foes (Tsitsipas and Borna Coric). He’s never done much in New York, but he’s got tools and momentum.

Alex De Minaur
Caesars title odds: +8000
Tennis Abstract odds: 1%

Few benefited from the summer tuneup tournaments than the 24-year-old Aussie — he reached the finals in Los Cabos (with a win over Paul) and Toronto (wins over Fritz and Medvedev) and jumped from 19th to 13th in the ATP rankings.

Liudmila Samsonova
Caesars title odds: +3500
Tennis Abstract odds: 2%

The lanky 24-year-old loves hard courts. She’s won 65% of her matches on the surface while going just 8-8 on other surfaces over the last year. She won eight of 10 in Washington and Montreal, scoring upsets of Sabalenka, Rybakina and Bencic in Canada.

Others: Daniel Evans (Washington champion), Sebastian Baez (Winston-Salem champion), Sara Sorribes Tormo (Cleveland champion), Jiri Lehecka (Winston-Salem finalist), Ekaterina Alexandrova (Cleveland finalist), Linda Noskova (Prague finalist, 10-4 since Wimbledon), Tallon Griekspoor (Washington runner-up)

Tier 5: They love New York

Victoria Azarenka
Caesars title odds: +9000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.6%

She’s 34 and as unpredictable as ever. Over the last year, the three-time US Open finalist (2012, 2013, 2020) has an almost identical win percentage against top-20 opponents (0.636) and players outside the top 50 (0.632). She’s a threat to win or lose in any round of any tournament.

Dominic Thiem
Caesars title odds: +25000
Tennis Abstract odds: 0.1%

The 29-year-old is back from injury, but he continues to search for his groove. Maybe he’ll find it in the city where he won his only Slam title. He’s lost six straight to top-20 foes, but he took Tsitsipas to a fifth-set tiebreaker at Wimbledon. If he gets past the unpredictable Alexander Bublik in round one, he could have the draw to do some damage.

Others: Karen Khachanov (2022 semifinalist), Leylah Fernandez (2021 finalist), Felix Auger-Aliassime (2021 semifinalist), Belinda Bencic (2019 semifinalist), Matteo Berrettini (2019 semifinalist), Gael Monfils (2016 semifinalist), Andy Murray (2012 champion), Venus Williams (2000 and 2001 champion)

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