Novak Djokovic at the 2015 U.S. Open
Date: 31 August 2021
Tournament: 2021 US Open
Round: First round (Round of 128)
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Category: Grand Slam
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $40,560,000
Match timing: 7 pm local time, 11 pm GMT, 4.30 am IST (Wednesday)
Live telecast: USA – Tennis Channel & ESPN/ESPN 2 | UK – Amazon Prime Video | India – Star Sports / Disney+ Hotstar VIP
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune preview
Novak Djokovic is chasing tennis immortality at the 2021 US Open. A title in New York would give him the coveted Calendar Slam as well as help him take sole ownership of the Grand Slam record.
The three-time champion will begin his US Open campaign against talented teenager Holger Rune, who has come through three rounds of qualifying.
Even though Rune is making his Grand Slam main-draw debut, he is not an unknown entity. The Dane, ranked 145 in the world, is considered to be one of the most promising youngsters on the tour.
Rune even trained with Djokovic earlier this year, and thus, both players will be familiar with each other’s games.
Rune, 18, is in a purple patch at the moment. He has won 16 out of his last 17 matches, although most of them have been on the Challenger tour.
The Dane defeated Lukas Lacko, Mitchell Krueger, and Mats Moraing in the qualifying rounds to book his place in the main draw of the US Open.
Djokovic, meanwhile, comes into this contest bereft of any match practice. The Serb’s last match was a straight-sets defeat to Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal playoff at the Olympics.
However, this is unlikely to be an issue for the World No. 1, who is accustomed to entering Slams without many matches under his belt. In fact, he even won Wimbledon this year, without having played a competitive singles match on grass since 2019.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune head-to-head
Novak Djokovic and Holger Rune have never faced each other on tour before, which is why their head-to-head stands at 0-0.
Novak Djokovic vs Holger Rune prediction
Holger Rune will have his task cut out against Novak Djokovic
There is no doubt that Novak Djokovic enters this fixture as the overwhelming favorite. His serve has been exceptional throughout the year, and he will get plenty of cheap points against Rune, whose return game is not the strongest.
Courts at Flushing Meadows are reportedly faster this year, which will also aid the Serb. Djokovic thrives in quick conditions as he is an expert at redirecting pace.
Playing against arguably the greatest player of all time in one of the most iconic tennis stadiums in the world could get to the Dane. If Rune can calm his nerves, he might offer some resistance, but he is unlikely to even take a set off the Serb.
Prediction: Novak Djokovic to win in straight sets.