Novak Djokovic haters seething after ‘soft’ US Open draw

Novak Djokovic celebrates in Cincinnati

Novak Djokovic’s arguably softer US Open draw has angered some who feel that the Serbian is being given preferential treatment.

The US Open held a closed draw with a handful of select journalists and officials present and the results of that draw announced on Thursday.

Djokovic faces Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the first round as he sets out to win his first US Open title since 2018.

His second match, should be defeat Muller, will be against either Bernabe Zapata Miralles of Spain or young American wildcard Ethan Quinn.

If Djokovic beats Muller in the opening round he will secure his return to the top of the ATP Rankings.

Muller is making his US Open main draw ensuring there is a huge disparity in experience.

Djokovic’s first possible seeded opponent as the draw currently stands will be countryman Laslo Djere, who could face his hero in the third round at Flushing Meadows.

Djere has only played against Djokovic once before, losing a hotly contested three-setter in Belgrade in 2022.

Djokovic could face 2021 semi-finalist Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round but the Canadian’s mixed form this season has many suggesting that he will struggle to reach that round of 16 clash with the man chasing the world No 1 ranking.

The three-time US Open champion has been drawn in the same quarter as seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who met Djokovic in the Australian Open earlier this season.

Tsitsipas could face Taylor Fritz in a Round of 16 popcorn clash if the draw follows seeding, which would be some match to endure before a big showdown with Djokovic.

That trend could potentially continue with Scandinvian stars Casper Ruud and Holger Rune set to cross paths in the last eight and could be meeting to determine who will face Djokovic in the last four of the US Open.

Ruud has never beaten Djokovic, having contested five matches against the Serbian in total without taking a set off the 23-time Grand Slam winner.

Rune has faired slightly better against Djokovic, winning two of their three clashes including a triumph at the Rome Masters earlier this season.

Of the players in his quarter, Djokovic has only suffered defeats to Tsitsipas, Lorezo Musetti and Jiri Vesely. Vesely is the only player in that quarter who sports a head-to-head lead over Djokovic.

Djokovic has made it clear that he is still fired up and out to achieve yet more in the sport that he has already become an all-time great in.

“I like the feeling that I have after 20-plus years of professional tennis. There’s still a fire going,” said Djokovic.

“There’s still that drive and motivation to really come at the biggest events in sport and try to win, try to win titles and try to bring some good sensation to the crowds.”

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