Exclusive – Tim Henman picks his US Open favourites and dark horses

2022 Australian Open men's final: Daniil Medvedev vs Rafael Nadal

Tim Henman has picked his favourites for the US Open men’s title – and he believes Rafael Nadal could be in the mix to win his third major of 2022.

With Novak Djokovic set to miss the tournament in New York as he is not permitted to enter the country due to his refusal to take a Covid-19 vaccine, former British No 1 Henman believes defending US Open champion Daniil Medvedev is the favourite to regain his title at Flushing Meadows.

Yet Henman suggests Nadal is a player to watch, as he battles back from injury and closes in on a return to the top of the ATP Rankings.

“In terms of the favourites, I would say Medvedev,” said Henman, speaking to Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

“He is the defending champion and the way he played on hard courts, I’d make him the favourite.

“There is a whole host of people knocking on the door. Nadal could win his third Slam of the year.

“You can never write off Rafa. Maybe we did that last year when he was struggling with injury, but look at what he did at the Australian Open in his comeback event and then he won the French Open again.

“It will take a massive effort, but for sure, Nadal has a chance to compete for another title, especially with Djokovic not playing.

“I’d also look out for (Carlos) Alcaraz and (Jannik) Sinner have been playing great tennis. Also, Capser Ruud continues to impress me on all surfaces. Lots to choose on the men’s side.”

Henman told Tennis365 prior to Wimbledon that Nick Kyrgios could be one to watch at the All England Club and that prediction proved to be accurate, as the maverick Aussie made it all the way through to the final.

Now Henman believes the confidence gained from that run can inspire Kyrgios to repeat his success in another major championship.

“He’s playing great,” said Henman of Kyrgios. “With the success he had at Wimbledon, it’s given him a taste of the big time and it seems he really liked it.

“To see him back up that success by winning the singles and doubles in Washington was fantastic. He is playing brilliantly. He is a big draw to our sport and hopefully he is able to build.”

Henman admits he is struggling to pick a winner in the women’s draw, but he believes world No 1 Iga Swiatek will be the player to beat if she banishes her recent uncertain form.

“On the women’s side, it’s tough to pick and that’s what makes it exciting,” he added. “You could say the men’s game has been predictable with the dominance of the big three

“In the women’s it will be fascinating to see who can take advantage. I’d still say Swiatek is the favourite if she can find her best form, but I’m looking forward to it all.

“We all saw what happened with Emma Raducanu at the US Open last year and that showed that anything is possible. I don’t expect we will see anything quite that extraordinary again, but who know.

Raducanu has a chance to do well at the US Open again and I hope she goes there and enjoys her moment as champion. Go out with freedom, play as we know she can and anything is possible.”

“I think she has played some really good tennis this year. There is no question about her ability and mental fortitude.

“The one are where she needs time and we have to be patient is the physicality and understanding what Tour life is all about. There is masses to be excited about and it is all about being patient.”

Tim Henman was speaking at a Play Your Way to Wimbledon event, after the finals we staged at the All England Club earlier this month.

The competition looks to inspire the next generation of tennis talent; allowing junior players to follow in the footsteps of their heroes and compete for a chance to play on Wimbledon’s iconic courts.

Formerly known as the Road to Wimbledon, the competition launched in March and is delivered in partnership by the LTA, The All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, and Vodafone.

Thousands of 14&U and 18&U players took part in the qualifying stages this year, leading to county and regional finals in June and July, with the winners progressing to the national finals on Wimbledon’s famous grass courts.