(All times Eastern)
Coverage starts at 1pm ET on ESPN
Continues at 7pm ET on ESPN2
Novak Djokovic is back in Queens to defend his 2015 title, and continue his hunt for a 13th Grand Slam title. Among those also taking the court today are 7-seed Roberta Vinci, who stunned Serena Williams in the semis at last year’s Open; Angelique Kerber, who is currently ranked #2 in the world and could potentially unseat Williams atop the rankings by the end of the tournament; Rafael Nadal, who won here in 2010 and 2013; American Madison Keys; Marin Cilic; reigning French Open champ Garbiñe Muguruza; and Milos Raonic to name just a few.
This year’s tournament takes place at the newly refurbished Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Which just got a half-billion dollar facelift, that included a new stadium, improved walkways and green space, and improvements to all the courts. But the only new feature that matters to the viewer at home is the retractable roof over Arthur Ashe stadium, which will spare fans frustrating delays should the weather gods turn angry.
Opening Ceremonies, #1 Novak Djokovic vs. Jerzy Janowicz, #9 Madison Keys vs Alison Riske
#1 Novak Djokovic vs. Jerzy Janowicz
Defending Men’s champion Novak Djokovic remains the favorite, despite poor showings at Wimbledon, where he lost in the 3rd round, and at the Olympics in RIo, where got bounced in the opening round. At 29, Djokovic has been ranked #1 for 113 weeks, the fourth-longest stretch of all time, trailing just Ivan Lednl (157), Jimmy Connors (160) and Roger Federer (237). Djokovic has won 7 titles this season, including his 11th and 12th Grand Slams, at the Australian and French Opens.
Djokovic’s opponent will be Jerzy Janowicz, a towering 6’ 8” 25-year-old, who was once ranked as high as 14th in the world, but has since fallen to 247th. Last year Janowicz lost in the 1st round of the Open, and while his best showing here was in 2014, when he lost in the 2nd round. His best Grand Slam performance was at at Wimbledon in 2013, when he made it to the semis before falling to eventual champion Andy Murray. He and Djokovic has never before played against each other.
#9 Madison Keys vs Alison Riske
Madison Keys is currently ranked 9th in the world, after making it to the 4th round at the Australian Open, the French Open, and Wimbledon, and the semis at the Rio Olympics. This is Keys’ fifth US Open, her best showing being least when she fell in the 4th round to Serena Williams. Keys is hoping to return to the heights of her breakout season in 2015, when she went to the semis in Australia, and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
Alison Riske, ranked 60th in the world, is looking to break her streak of consecutive 1st round Grand Slam exits at 8, a trail of ignominy that goes back to her 2014 defeat at the hands of Ana Ivanovic. That first loss marked the end of what appears to have been Riske’s peak, as she’d made it to at least the 2nd round, and as far s the 4th in her five previous Grand Slam appearances, and made it as far as a #45th ranking.
Keys is 4-1 lifetime against Riske, with Riske taking their first match in 2011, but coming up empty since, most recently at this year’s Madrid Masters.
Here’s today’s complete lineup.
Watch the 2016 U.S. Open at 1pm ET Monday on ESPN and then at 7pm on ESPN2, by subscribing to the Sling Orange.