It’s a grave shame for the organisers of the final tennis major of the season that the draw will likely be bereft of the current champion at full fitness, but in Rafael Nadal’s potential absence the plot thickens for other potential kings of New York.
Grigor Dimitrov – 14/1
Andy Murray’s Wimbledon conqueror is understandably causing a stir on the ATP Tour, especially after winning the Aegon Championships shortly before making the last four at SW19.
Now in the world’s top-ten, Dimitrov is suddenly giving the establishment some serious food for thought and earlier in the year took Nadal to four sets at the other hard-court slam down under.
The Bulgarian will have to improve on previous early exits, but is a former junior US Open champion.
Milos Raonic – 25/1
The man blessed with a serve fast enough to take paint off the tramlines is tailor-made for the quick courts of Flushing Meadows.
Like the aforementioned Dimitrov, the Canadian’s career trajectory is ascending rapidly after making his first slam semi on the grass of the All-England club.
Now at a career-high ranking of six in the world, Raonic has five career titles to his name by age 23 and all of them arrived on this surface.
Kei Nishikori – 66/1
Raonic could conceivably have six hard-court titles under his belt had Nishikori not beat him in the 2012 Japan Open final.
The Asian continent’s finest male wielder of a tennis racket also revels a battle on this surface where four of his five ATP titles have been sealed.
Admittedly, the 24-year-old will need to play the tournament of his young life to prevail in New York – with the fourth round being his best effort to date – though he’s already beaten David Ferrer twice, Roger Federer and Raonic once this year .