US Open 2022, draw, live, updates, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic, full draw, news, Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, tennis

No Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal battling injury, and Novak Djokovic might not even be allowed to set foot in New York.

The US Open draw takes place around 3am AEST on Friday morning – with plenty of clouds hanging over its head.

In the women’s draw, all eyes will be on Serena Williams as she prepares to say goodbye to the game at the grand slam where her incredible career exploded into life.

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DJOKER DOUBTS

Djokovic remains in Europe, steadfastly refusing to withdraw from the tournament in the hope of a last-minute change of policy by the US authorities.

The famously unvaccinated Djokovic, who won the last of his three US Open crowns in 2018, is barred from entering the United States for refusing to take the Covid vaccine.

As of now, he is on the entry list for the tournament – but by tomorrow he may not be.

Tennis legend John McEnroe has blasted the Djokovic ban as a “joke”.

“At this point, in the pandemic, we’re two and a half years in, I think people in all parts of the world know more about it, and the idea that he can’t travel here to play, to me is a joke, ”said McEnroe.

Ironically, during the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Djokovic was allowed to compete at New York where he was champion in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

The 35-year-old hasn’t played since securing a seventh Wimbledon title last month, a victory which extended his Slam record to 21.

His controversial vaccination stance also saw him deported from Melbourne in January where he had been hoping to defend his Australian Open title.

Only last month, Djokovic said he was “preparing to play” in the tournament.

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MASON, OHIO – AUGUST 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain walks across the court during his match against Borna Coric of Croatia during the Western & amp; Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 17, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. Dylan Buell / Getty Images / AFP.Source: AFP

RAFA EYES MORE ‘UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS’

Rafael Nadal targets a fifth US Open and 23rd Grand Slam title in New York from next week.

Nineteen years after making his debut, the 36-year-old Nadal drags his injury-prone body into a tournament he won in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019, the year of his last appearance.

The Spaniard has had to sit out the US Open four times in his career and there are once again fresh doubts over his physical ability to survive a gruelling two weeks at Flushing Meadows.

Since an abdomen injury forced him to hand Nick Kyrgios a walkover into the Wimbledon final, Nadal has played just once – a first-up loss to Borna Coric in Cincinnati.

“I need to move forward and just start to think about the energy that the crowd give me in New York,” said Nadal, who has already captured two of the season’s three Slams at the Australian and French Opens.

“It’s a very special place for me, and I enjoy it. There have been unforgettable moments there, and I’m going to try my very best every single day to be ready for that. “

Nadal has become accustomed to overcoming setbacks, winning a 14th French Open in June despite playing the whole tournament with painkilling injections in his foot.

An added incentive for Nadal is the opportunity to reclaim the world number one spot from defending champion Daniil Medvedev, the man he defeated in the 2019 final.

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Rafael Nadal of Spain holds the trophy after his win over Daniil Medvedev of Russia during the men’s Singles Finals match at the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 8, 2019. (Photo by Don Emmert / AFP)Source: AFP

WILLIAMS READY TO SAY FAREWELL

After a glittering 27-year professional career in which she became one of the greatest players of all time, Serena Williams is preparing to bid farewell to tennis at the major where it all began.

The 40-year-old sporting icon ended the guessing game surrounding her future earlier this month by revealing that the “countdown” to her retirement had started, with her final Grand Slam appearance coming at next week’s US Open in New York.

“There comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction,” Williams wrote. “That time is always hard when you love something so much.

“But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals and finally discovering a different, but just (as) exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks. “

That announcement set the stage for what will be an emotional farewell for Williams, who won the first of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles as a 17-year-old at the 1999 US Open, beating Martina Hingis in the final.

That breakthrough victory confirmed what had become apparent ever since her professional debut four years earlier: that Williams, alongside sister Venus, was a rising force in women’s tennis.

While 1999 marked her first singles Slam, by then Williams had already won mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1998.

Her win in the 1999 singles final would light the touchpaper for the most dominant career of any female player in the Open era, her 23 Grand Slam titles second only to Margaret Court’s 24.

While a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title is likely to remain beyond her next week, Williams has nevertheless produced a collection of records that in all probability will never be broken.

MORE: US Open champ crushes Serena Williams as retirement looms

Serena Williams returns a shot to Emma Raducanu of Great Britain during the Western & amp; Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Matthew Stockman / Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Williams’ farewell to tennis in New York has become the hottest ticket in town. Her retirement announcement di lei triggered a stampede among fans, with the first three nights of the tournament sold out. Secondary ticket markets have reported a surge in ticket prices, up 34% since early August. While or not Williams is able to extend her Grand Slam career beyond the first round of next week’s tournament is doubtful. Williams herself has called a 24th Grand Slam title “fan fantasy.”

“I get that,” she said this month. “It’s a good fantasy. But I’m not looking for some ceremonial, final on-court moment. I’m terrible at goodbyes, the world’s worst. ”

With Williams not expected to mount a sustained challenge, all eyes will be on Poland’s world number one Iga Swiatek in the women’s draw.

The 21-year-old was the form player in women’s tennis earlier this year, reeling off victories at the Qatar Open, Indian Wells and Miami Open before claiming wins on clay in Stuttgart and Rome en route to her second Slam singles title at the French Open.

However, Swiatek has struggled to recapture that dominance during the North American hardcourt season, making early exits at both the Cincinnati Masters and Canadian Open.

MASON, OHIO – AUGUST 16: Serena Williams of the United States walks across the court before her match against Emma Raducanu of Great Britain during the Western & amp; Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 16, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. Dylan Buell / Getty Images / AFPSource: AFP

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