The 2023 US Open is now just a few weeks away and with it, the chance to win the final Grand Slam of the season is up for grabs.
For many, this looks like another straight shoot-out between the two Wimbledon finalists- Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic, who as the players ranked Number 1 and 2 in the world respectively with significant points leads over the rest- have every chance of meeting in the final again.
But if that were to happen, who looks the better bet? Or can someone else emerge from the pack to go all the way? Let’s find out.
At the time of writing, the US Open winner market isn’t currently live on 10BET SA because there are big tournaments in progress. But odds available elsewhere make the pair virtually impossible to split in the betting with both expected to be around the 2.2-2.5 mark once the market opens.
Young, Spanish prodigy winning Grand Slams at such an early age and showing the shots, game and mentality of a seasoned champion pro? There are of course plenty of similarities with the great Rafael Nadal but these are players with very different styles and philosophies.
Alcaraz, a bigger server than Nadal ever was and with a keen appetite for going to the net and playing drop shots, is better suited to US hard courts than Nadal was and that was proven last year when he won the US Open aged just 19, defeating the far more experienced Casper Ruud in the final over four sets.
He did admittedly save a match point against Jannik Sinner in a previous round so it could well have been a very different story. But he’s proven that was no fluke since with big tournament wins in 2023, which of course included beating Djokovic in a five-set epic final at Wimbledon.
However, his season has been plagued by injuries. One of which forced him to miss the Australian Open, so fitness concerns have to be considered.
There’s not much to say about the Serb that hasn’t already been said before. He won this year’s Australian Open and French Open beating Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud respectively.
Significantly, at the French Open he was too good for Alcaraz in the semis, who admitted that the occasion got to him, suffering from cramps quite early on in the match as a result of feeling the strain of the occasion.
Going into Wimbledon as the hot favourite, it looked almost inevitable Djokovic was going to win again, especially after winning the first set comfortably. But Alcaraz made a stunning comeback, eventually winning the third and fifth sets to stun Djokovic and proving that he’s not just ready to beat the Serb on the biggest stage but he’s already done so.
So, it’s 2/3 Grand Slam wins for the Serbian so far this season but he too has had injury problems.
Alcaraz v Djokovic verdict
At very similar odds, you could make a case for one or the other depending on your point of view.
On the one hand it should be remembered that Alcaraz’s win last year here in New York was made easier by the fact that Djokovic wasn’t present as he was unvaccinated against Covid and not allowed to play.
On the other hand, Alcaraz’s win over him at Wimbledon on a surface that is far from his favourite will have been a big mental and physical body-blow to Djokovic and anything but his best won’t cut it against the younger man.
Having said all this, both are pretty short odds and with injury doubts about both, you might not want to have to pick one over the other.
Don’t forget about Danii Medvedev
So if you decide to dodge the two favourites, the best bet comes in the form of third-favourite Daniil Medvedev.
Not only did he win the 2021 edition of the US Open but he beat Djokovic in the final and in straight sets, no less.
His style isn’t the most pleasing on the eye and he’s certainly not the neutral’s favourite with a game that’s extremely hard to break down but highly effective on the back of big-serving, a monster forehand, an extremely consistent baseline game and superb stamina that allows him to still be at his best as others tire late in the game.
2023 has been a somewhat odd year for Medvedev with poor performances at the Australian Open ad French Open leading to early exits. But at Wimbledon, on a surface that doesn’t suit him, he still made the semis, losing to Alcaraz in straight sets but proving the best players can perform on any surface.
A reminder of his consistency and ability to win tournaments came earlier in the year when he won three tournaments in three weeks.
Hard courts are his best surface, he’s won here before and may benefit from less media attention with the Alcaraz v Djokovic rivalry what everyone wants to talk about.
It would be just like him to slip under the radar, hope one of those two gets knocked out by someone else and saving a big performance for the final, if things pan out that way.
When the market opens, expect to get odds of around 6.0 on him and that looks the smarter bet than going with one of the two joint-favourites.