Rafael Nadal is set to fight hard for his third Grand Slam win of the 2022 season in New York. The 22-time Grand Slam champ won two major titles in Australia and Paris this year before he was forced to retire ahead of Wimbledon. Thus, while Rafa missed out on a calendar slam due to the injury, he would have a chance of winning his third Slam of the year with Novak Djokovic officially out of the tournament. The Serb will not be allowed to play in New York or enter the US without getting vaccinated.
However, despite Djokovic’s absence, Nadal will have some fierce competitors in front of him. The World No. 1 and last year’s defending champ Daniil Medvedev will be his prime opponent. But, the 2022 US Open could turn out to be a five-player fight to become the leader in the ATP rankings.
Another tough opponent that no. 3 seed Nadal could face would be no. 2 seed Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinals. Thus, if Rafa makes it to the semi-finals and beats Alcaraz, he might face Medvedev in the finals. Nadal previously beat the Russian star during the five-set final encounter in 2019. The 36-year-old also defeated Daniil at the start of the year at the Australian Open.
As per the Caesars /William Hill odds prediction, Medvedev(2/1), Nadal(7/2), Alcaraz(9/2), and Nick Kygrios(6/1) are the top four favorites to win the title in New York this year. Thus, it would be thrilling to encounter Nadal winning the 23rd Grand Slam title of his career.
Rafael Nadal Could Become World No. 1 With A U.S. Open Victory
Nadal would be in the best position to take the ATP world No. 1 spot for the first time since February 2020, when the players drop their last year’s points in the rankings. Rafa would not have to defend any points as he did not play in the tournament last year. Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev will be defending 2000 points. It will give Nadal a chance to become No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings with 5,360 points.
Rafa would have a 590-point lead over Alexander Zverev. But, he will miss out on the US Open due to an ankle injury. Also, Medvedev will end up 745 points behind and lose his World No. 1 spot to Rafael Nadal. Thus, Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carlos Alcaraz, and Casper Rudd need to reach the US Open finals to become the World No. 1.