5 Players to Watch at the 2023 U.S. Open
For those of us in the United States, this might just be the best week of the tennis year. Yes, the U.S. Open is back. We've got five players you should keep an eye on at this year's tournament. Not the top stars like Novak Djokovic, Iga Swiatek or Carlos Alcaraz; instead those who may look to pull an upset or two in their run to the second week. Did you know you can watch EVERY match at the U.S. Open? If you're an ESPN+ subscriber, they have every court live-streamed, and we highly recommend tuning into some of the smaller courts where the atmosphere can get heated, and quickly. Watch US Open Matches on ESPN+.
As I write this, I'm currently watching young American Zach Svajda take on Francisco Cerundolo on court 7. These are the matches you need to check out! Alright, let's pick some players.
It's hard to believe a former U.S. Open CHAMPION is on the "under the radar" list, but Thiem hadn't won a match a major championship since the Australian Open in 2021. He has battled injuries, most notably a troubled wrist that has left his forehand not nearly as explosive as his former self. But after taking out Alexander Bublik in the first round, a little confidence can go a long way. I personally wouldn't want to see Thiem in the draw if I were a player at this year's Open.
Jennifer Brady A similar story to Thiem, Brady is just returning after a long injury layoff that had her miss nearly two years. She has already gotten through her first round at the time of writing, and her big forehand plays extremely well on the faster New York hard courts. If she can stay healthy, she can take out just about anyone in the draw. Tommy Paul
Noticing an American theme? This could be a special year for U.S. players! Paul has risen quickly in 2023, reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open and taking out world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in Toronto just a month ago. TP is one of the best athletes on tour, and it feels like he now expects to win almost every match he plays. He will be putting a lot of pressure on himself, but the crowd will get behind him, and his shotmaking ability could catapult him deep into the second week.
Mirra Andreeva If you haven't heard of this 16 year old rising star, you will soon, and it might just be at this U.S. Open. She qualified and reached the third round of the French Open, then followed that up by qualifying and reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon. It's entirely possible she goes a step further in New York. Even if she doesn't, you'll want to tune into watch her play, and listen to entertaining interviews.
Alex Michelson We've got to take one REAL wild card right? Well, Michelson falls into that category, after earning the USTA's wildcard into the main draw after an incredible summer at the challenger level. He has officially announced that he is foregoing college, and his incredibly solid style of play is not fun to compete against. He does not make many mistakes, and does not give opponents much time to react. Throw in a friendly draw, and you never know what the 18-year-old could do.