The U.S. Open will be without one of tennis’ most accomplished stars, as No. 4-ranked Novak Djokovic withdrew from the tournament Wednesday to let his right elbow fully heal.
Djokovic, who will miss the remainder of the 2017 season, pulled out of the Wimbledon quarterfinals citing the elbow problems and casting doubts as to whether he can continue competing at a high level this year.
Djokovic has struggled for much of 2017, compiling a 32-8 record and failing to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open, a tournament he has mostly dominated since 2008. The 12-time Grand Slam champion has stated that his elbow had bothered him at varying degrees this year and upon dropping out of Wimbledon said that the more he plays the worse the elbow feels.
The Serbian star has been arguably the best men’s player at Flushing Meadows over the past 10 years, having won the tournament twice, and reaching the final five times and the semifinals three times.
“All the doctors I’ve consulted, and all the specialists I have visited in Serbia and all over the world, have agreed that this injury requires rest,” Djokovic said. “A prolonged break from the sport is inevitable. I’ll do whatever it takes to recover.”
Djokovic’s absence has helped the chances of his notable competitors. The 30-year-old had +400 odds to win the U.S. Open, trailing only Roger Federer at +200, but the odds have shifted considerably since his announcement, according to Bovada (Betting site).
Federer, who has experienced & fresh legs coming into the tournament has seen his odds improve to +150. The Swiss superstar didn’t compete at the French Open but has already won the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and owns an impressive 31-2 record. His only losses were in tight three-set matches to Evgeny Donskoy of Russia at the Dubai Tennis Championships in March, and to German Tommy Haas at the Stuttgart Open in June.
After Federer, Rafael Nadal has the strongest odds of winning at Flushing Meadows. The Spaniard saw his odds boosted from +400 to +275 after Djokovic’s exit. After winning the U.S. Open in 2013, Nadal didn’t compete in 2014 and then fell in the third round in 2015 and the fourth round in 2016.
But like Federer, Nadal may be primed for a deep run after several successes in 2017. He reached the final of the Australian Open, a very strong showing after reaching the quarterfinals in 2015 and a first-round exit in 2016.
Andy Murray, who has a slight edge on Nadal as the ATP No. 1 player, has the third-best odds at +400, which was where he stood prior to Djokovic’s announcement. The Scot has failed to reach the semifinals since winning the U.S. Open in 2012. His best showing in a Grand Slam this year was at the French Open, where he lost in five sets to Stan Wawrinka.
The rest of the field after Federer, Nadal and Murray is made up of underdogs. Wawrinka, the defending champion, has the fourth-best odds at +1,200, and is followed by Marin Cilic, who won the tournament in 2014, at +1,400.
Juan Martin Del Potro, Nick Kyrgios and Milos Raonic are all listed at +2,000. Of the Americans listed, Jack Sock has the best odds at +6,600 and is followed by John Isner at +10,000.
The U.S. Open begins on Aug. 28 and ends on Sept. 10.