Novak Djokovic the ‘huge favourite’, but Brad Gilbert predicts ‘some crazy results’ at US Open

ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic in the zone

Brad Gilbert believes we could have a surprise semi-finalist or finalist at this year’s US Open due to the long layoff and other factors that will be in play.

Following a five-month hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ATP Tour will finally resume this week with the Western & Southern Open followed by the US Open.

Both events will be played at Flushing Meadows and no spectators will be allowed to attend while strict health and safety measures will be in place due to Covid-19.

On top of that, some of the world’s best players won’t feature as defending champion Rafael Nadal pulled out due to concerns over the coronavirus while 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is recovering from knee surgery.

It leaves world No 1 Novak Djokovic as the “huge favourite”, but Gilbert feels there could be surprises.

“There are a lot of unknowns, but if he [Djokovic] is 100 per cent healthy, on this surface, he’s a huge favourite,” the American, who coached the likes of Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, told ATPTour.com.

“It’s a tough call, it’s just really hard to know. Maybe [it will benefit] someone like a big server. All of a sudden if someone like John Isner, if his serve is fine, the guy can hold serve and you never know,” he said.

“It’s hard to put your brain around it. Especially if someone plays a tough five-setter, how will they recover and manage it? That part I’m most curious about. I’m not sure who it helps the most or hurts the most. But I do think there’s going to be somebody who I say, ‘Whoa! I didn’t see that coming.'”

Gilbert feels if Federer and Nadal were playing then it would probably have been “business as normal”, but he feels we might get a “real surprise” in the semi-final or final.

“I do think we’re going to see some crazy results,” Gilbert said. “But let’s say even if the Big Three was playing after all this time, I just don’t think that after something like this you’d expect it to be business as normal… I do think somebody’s going to make a semi or final who is going to be a real surprise. I do think the biggest surprise is going to be somebody who maybe you don’t think about and doesn’t play that well on a big stadium or a big crowd.”

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