2019 US Open Expert Picks: The Men—Djokovic, Nadal, Federer lead again

2019 US Open Expert Picks: The Men—Djokovic, Nadal, Federer lead again

The contenders, pretenders and dark horses for this year's US Open title.


View the entire men's bracket at our US Open tournament page.


With a good draw and plenty of rest after his Montreal triumph, the three-time champion has a great chance to win major No. 19 and state his case for year-end No. 1.

STEVE FLINKNovak Djokovic
The Serb will be primed to defend his title. His draw is tough, with a potential quarterfinal against Medvedev, but I still like his chances to win a fourth US Open.

CALE HAMMONDNovak Djokovic
The top seed has a brutal draw. But it doesn’t matter, he has reached the semifinals or better in each of his last eleven US Open appearances.

ED MCGROGAN: Rafael Nadal
The Montreal champion was rewarded for his savvy decision to skip Cincinnati with a plush draw. Rafa has lost to Djokovic and Federer at majors this year, and but he'll end the Slam season by defeating one of them for the title.

He could face his Cincinnati conqueror, Medvedev, in the quarterfinals—and Federer in the semis—but I like the defending champion’s chances.

NINA PANTIC: Roger Federer
He’s played just two matches on hard courts this summer, but those two squandered Wimbledon match points will light a fire under him in New York.

It’s hard not to pick the Serb—the most consistent member of the Big Three, the reigning champion and the player who has reached the final eight out of the last nine years.

STEVE TIGNOR: Novak Djokovic
Theoretically, it could be someone else, but it’s hard to imagine who that might be. Djokovic can be shaky outside of the majors these days, but not in them.

JOEL DRUCKER: Rafael Nadal
Has taken enough this year from Djokovic and Federer, and has proper mix of health and sharpness to earn a fourth US Open title.

Dark Horse (Seeded No. 20 or lower)

The 2016 champ hits a different gear when playing best-of-five, and his game is well-suited for Flushing Meadows' courts. If a week-two meeting with Djokovic comes to fruition, watch out.

STEVE FLINKLucas Pouille
The 25th seed made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open. He's back in form now, and a third-round duel with Federer could be enticing.

CALE HAMMONDRichard Gasquet
In his past two tournaments, Gasquet has defeated three Top 20 US Open seeds (Schwartzman, Bautista Agut and Nishikori). The Cincinnati semifinalist's one-handed backhand remains one of the best and most effective—and not to mention prettiest—shots in tennis.

ED MCGROGAN: Stan Wawrinka
More than a dark horse, he's a bona fide title contender, especially with some Djokovic injury concern. They've played a classic a fourth-rounder before, and a rematch would be must-see.

His Cincy third-round win over Federer should give him a lot of confidence going into New York.

NINA PANTIC: Nick Kyrgios
It's a risky choice, but Kyrgios is a risky kind of player—and his draw is favorable. And he has Tsitsipas' number, should they meet.

JORDAAN SANFORD: Yoshihito Nishioka
He recently broke through in Cincinnati, running through qualifying and then defeating Nishikori and de Minaur. If the world No. 59 can bring the same energy and focus into New York, he could find himself in the later rounds.

STEVE TIGNOR: Reilly Opelka
He has a difficult opener against Fognini, but America’s new ace machine could do some damage if he can survive it.

JOEL DRUCKER: Alex de Minaur
Look up intensity and this scrappy Aussie’s photo will be front and center. Great skills and temperament for NYC.

Bust (Seeded No. 10 or higher)

MATT FITZGERALD: Stefanos Tsitsipas
If his first-rounder against in-form Rublev wasn’t tough enough, the eighth seed, who lost his Montreal and Cincinnati openers, could meet Kyrgios in the third round.

STEVE FLINK: Stefanos Tsitsipas
The No. 8 seed has been mired in a slump ever since losing a heartbreaker to Wawrinka at Roland Garros. He faces Rublev in the first round and could take on Kyrgios in the third round. He seems very vulnerable at the moment.

CALE HAMMONDAlexander Zverev
Does he still count as a bust? Until Sascha proves otherwise, he's a prime pick for this section.

ED MCGROGAN: Stefanos Tsitsipas
If the No. 8 seed reaches the quarterfinals, he'll have surely earned it. The slumping Greek drew Roger-router Rublev in his opener, and could face Kyrgios or Johnson in the third round. The Big 3 are far away, but Tsitsipas' draw is still difficult.

ASHLEY NDEBELEAlexander Zverev
He is in the less-dangerous half of the draw, but because of his struggles this season, another early exit shouldn’t be a surprise.

NINA PANTIC: Stefanos Tstisipas
He opens against Rublev, who’s rediscovering his form this summer. Should he prevail, other obstacles loom.

JORDAAN SANFORD: Daniil Medvedev
Although the Russian has performed extremely well this summer, the world No. 5 might come into the Open a little fatigued from the amount of match play he’s endured. In addition, Medvedev hasn’t performed well in New York the past few years.

STEVE TIGNOR: Stefanos Tsitsipas
He’s played a lot of tennis this season, and he has a tough first-round match against fellow Next Genner  Rublev.

JOEL DRUCKER: Alexander Zverev
It almost feels cruel to say this, but at this stage, how is it possible to have any confidence that Zverev will live up to his seeding?

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