American Serena Williams will face Montenegrin Danka Kovinic (80th) in the first round of the U.S. Open, which could be her last tournament before retiring, according to Thursday's draw in New York.
The poster, scheduled for Monday, could be tricky for the tennis legend, crowned six times at Flushing Meadows, facing a player who has spent two rounds at the Australian Open this season – beating the winner of the last Internationals in the process. United States, Britain's Emma Raducanu – and at Roland-Garros, where world number 1 Iga Swiatek stood in her way.
Especially since her return to school this summer, after almost a year of absence due to a leg injury, was hardly conclusive.
At the end of June, at Wimbledon, she was beaten by the Frenchwoman Harmony Tan. Six weeks later, just after announcing that the countdown to her retirement had begun, she was knocked out in the second round in Toronto by Switzerland's Belinda Bencic. And in the process, she took the door in the first round in Cincinnati, swept away by Raducanu.
So much so that she has little chance of succeeding at 40 in the feat of winning a 24th historic Major title, which would equal Margaret Court's record, where it all began for her in 1999 when she was crowned a Grand Slam for the first time, aged 17.
If Williams, down to 410th, makes it past her first lap, she could immediately cross paths with Estonian Anett Kontaveit, the world's second-ranked player.
Iga Swiatek will have a piano start on Tuesday against the Italian Jasmine Paolini (57th) and defending champion Emma Raducanu (11th) will have to be wary of the French Alizé Cornet (37th).
In their part of the table, raised, are the Spaniard Paula Badosa (4th), the Japanese Naomi Osaka (44th), winner in 2020, and the other Williams sister, Venus, who has still not announced her retirement at 42. years.
Significant program for Nadal
In the men, in the absence of Novak Djokovic prevented, because not vaccinated, Rafael Nadal, rival of the Serbian in the race for Grand Slam records, will have a consistent program in his quest for a 23rd Major, which would be his third in 2022 after the Australian Open and Roland-Garros.
After a first round well within his reach, scheduled for Tuesday, against the modest Australian Rinky Hijikata (198th), he could cross paths in 8th place with the Argentinian Diego Schwartzman (16th), then the Briton Cameron Norrie (9th) and his compatriot, the phenomenon Carlos Alcaraz (4th) in the semi-finals.
The latter, revealed in Flushing last year before his explosion this year, will not have an easy course. He could play against the Croatian Borna Coric (29th), surprising winner of the Cincinnati Masters 1000, in the 3rd round, before potentially facing in the quarterfinals the formidable Pole Hubert Hurkacz (10th).
The world's first and defending champion, Daniil Medvedev will start quietly Monday against the American Stephen Kozlov (110th), before possibly facing the French Arthur Rinderknech (58th).
In eighth he could find the volcanic Australian Nick Kyrgios (26th), whom he beat in Melbourne but who took his revenge in Montreal, before a possible half against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (5th), who has just beaten him at this stage at the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati .