Exclusive – Laura Robson on the Novak Djokovic US Open debate

Novak Djokovic attends a media day

Former British No 1 Laura Robson has made her pick for the US Open title – and she is not looking beyond defending champion Daniil Medvedev.

The Russian was unable to play at Wimbledon after Russian players were banned by the All England Club, but he is back for the defence of his title at Flushing Meadows and Robson is convinced he is the man to beat.

“With Djokovic not there I’d go for Medvedev on the hard courts,” Robson told Tennis365 at a Play Your Way To Wimbledon event.

“On hard courts and especially at the US Open where he got so much room on the big stadiums to get incredibly deep on returns and create so much time for himself… for New York I’d have Medvedev as favourite.”

The debate over whether Djokovic should be allowed to enter America despite his unvaccinated status has been rumbling on for several weeks, but Robson suggests the rules were never likely to be changed to allow the Serbian to play at the US Open.

“There is something he could do about it, of course, but ultimately tennis is such a minor blip in the US government’s policy,” continued Robson.

“I can’t imagine that they will change it for one person, as nice as it would be for the tennis world.

“You would think (he would be favourite if he played). The way he came through at Wimbledon, he just never really looked in doubt. Every time he was in trouble he found another gear or five more gears.

“There’s not a lot we can do about him not being there, but it’s a shame for the tournament.”

Robson also gave us her verdict on Nick Kyrgios‘ US Open hopes, after his run to the Wimbledon final last month.

The unpredictable Aussie will be seeded in New York and Robson believes he could enjoy a lengthy run into the second week once more.

“I’m glad that he has backed it up,” she added. “Being in the final (at Wimbledon) has given him a push in the right direction. He finally has realised that this is where he should be with his talent and it seems like the fast courts in the United States are perfect for him.

“He just brings such a different dynamic to the game. Get people involved and passionate, whether they like him or not.

“He’s not had the expectation on his shoulders for ages, so it’s going to be a different dynamic for him to be one of the favourites. He is playing with so much confidence at the moment and I hope it continues.”

Robson 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.