Excerpt from "U.S. Open Draw Lacks Some Stars, But Not Story Lines," New York Times 8/28
After months of hesitation and uncertainty in the tennis world, a welcome development arrived on Thursday: the men’s and women’s singles draws for the United States Open.
For many fans, the bracket for the tournament, which is set to begin on Monday, was tangible confirmation that the professional tennis tour is indeed back. Although there have been plenty of exhibition matches, and some sanctioned tournaments, they have all felt like practice runs, tests to make sure the Grand Slam events could return. And now, after the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open, they have.
Although some big names will be missing from this year’s U.S. Open, this draw also includes the return of two veterans. On the men’s side, there is Andy Murray, who last participated in singles at a major tournament in 2019, at the Australian Open. He then had his second hip operation in a year and openly questioned whether he would be able to return to professional tennis. But he was back playing singles tournaments by the end of 2019, before a pelvic injury kept him out of this year’s Australian Open.
In his first match at the U.S. Open, he will face Yoshihito Nishioka, a 24-year-old left-hander with a similar, physical style of play.
On the women’s side, an equally formidable former champion is returning: Kim Clijsters, who is returning from a second retirement to play in her first Grand Slam event since the 2012 U.S. Open. In the first round, she will face Ekaterina Alexandrova, the No. 21 seed, who was 2 years old when Clijsters played in her first WTA event.
Aside from sentimental favorites, the draw revealed the most compelling potential matchups and story lines of the tournament.