Serena Williams is handed first-round tie against Danka Kovinic

Serena Williams is handed a first-round tie against world No. 80 Danka Kovinic at the US Open as 23-time Grand Slam winner heads into her last ever tournament, while Raducanu faces Cornet and men’s champion Medvedev takes on Kozlov

  • Serena Williams, expected to retire after the Open, will face Anett Kontaveit
  • Emma Raducanu will begin her mission to defend her title against Alize Cornet
  • Daniil Medvedev will play American Stefan Kozlov
  • But World No. 1 Novak Djokovic won’t be playing due to his unvaccinated status 

Serena Williams will begin her US Open swansong against Danka Kovinic, as she plays for the last time in Flushing – and overall – before her expected retirement after the tournament.

Williams returned to the court in June after a year-long absence from tennis, losing in the first round of Wimbledon before also getting eliminated early in Cincinnati and Toronto.

If she manages to get past Kovinic, the out-of-form Williams will face No. 2 seed Anett Kontaveit.

Serena Williams’ is expected to play in the US Open for the final time in this year’s edition

Elsewhere in the Open field, reigning women’s champion Emma Raducanu will face Alize Cornet, while 2020 champ Naomi Osaka faces a tough test against No. 19 seed Danielle Collins.

On the men’s side reigning champion Daniil Medvedev is to play American Stefan Kozlov.

Medvedev also has Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios and No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in his quarter of the bracket.

Emma Raducanu will look to defend her Open crown after winning the tournament last year

Meanwhile, world No. 3 Rafael Nadal will play Rinky Hijikata, while his countryman Carlos Alcaraz is to face Sebastian Baez. 

However, men’s World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be missing from the tournament, as it was confirmed hours before the draw he won’t be competing due to being unvaccinated against COVID.

Djokovic is unable to make the trip due to the US government’s rule that non-US citizens must be vaccinated to enter the country.

Novak Djokovic will not play due to the US government’s vaccine rules for non-citizens

 Daniil Medvedev beat Djokovic in the final of the tournament last year for his first Grand Slam

‘Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,’ Djokovic tweeted Thursday ahead of the draw. 

‘Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again.’


Daniil Medvedev vs. Stefan Kozlov

Nick Kyrgios vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis

Rafael Nadal vs. Rinky Hijikata

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Sebastian Baez

Casper Ruud vs. Kyle Edmund

Meanwhile, Djokovic’s rival Nadal faces a brutal potential path to the final.

The Spaniard could face No. 32 seed Miomir Kecmanovic, 14th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, No. 7 Cameron Norrie and No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz – where reigning champion Medvedev could be waiting.

Elsewhere, 10th-seeded American Taylor Fritz is in the same quarter as No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 13 Matteo Berrettini, and could face No. 12 Casper Ruud in a potential Round of 16 matchup.

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