The 142nd US Open got underway yesterday afternoon, when 256 singles players began to whittle themselves down in the hope of securing one of tennis’s most iconic trophies at the end of next week.
The women’s draw will see Emma Raducanu look to become the first woman since Serena Williams in 2014 to defend a title at Flushing Meadows, while no man has achieved the feat since Roger Federer in 2008.
And though that statistic suggests that the odds stacked against the Brit, there’s no reason why we couldn’t see another teenager make history in New York.
US Open history
Raducanu became the first winner at the US Open to come through the qualifiers last year – she didn’t drop a set on the way to her victory over fellow teen Leylah Fernandez in September 2021.
Since that remarkable victory it has not been plain sailing for the Brit, who has had to overcome a series of coaching changes, injuries and early exits from Grand Slams.
She has, though, become a highly sought-after marketing pawn, with the likes of HSBC, Tiffany’s and British Airways all signing up the Canada-born 19-year-old for business.
Raducanu is due to start her campaign tonight against unseeded Alize Cornet in the Louis Armstrong Stadium and could find herself, should she progress sufficiently, in a quarter-final against fourth seed Paula Badosa.
But there are other teenagers dreaming of becoming the next Grand Slam winning sensation in New York.
Carlos Alcaraz launched himself onto the scene as one to watch this year, with the 19-year-old widely tipped to be Rafael Nadal’s successor on clay.
The big-hitting Spaniard has already won an ATP Masters 1000 final this season on the hard surface in Miami.
It is, though, uncertain as to whether the third seed can sustain a run to the title but he will be looking to progress beyond last year’s appearance in the last eight.
American 18-year-old Ashlyn Krueger may have been buoyed by Raducanu’s 6-0 6-2 win over Victoria Azarenka earlier this month because she is set to play the Belarusian in her opening match tonight.
While Azarenka remains a big-name seed in the draw, Krueger has nothing to lose against the 33-year-old double Grand Slam winner.
She is the current holder of the junior doubles title at the US Open – which she won with Robin Montgomery – and could make a splash in this year’s singles competition.
Another looking to become the first teen male to win the US Open since Pete Sampras in 1990 is Holger Rune.
The Danish 19-year-old reached his highest world ranking of 26 earlier this month and will be looking to progress beyond the first round in New York for the first time.
In fact, the Dane from Charlottenlund’s only success in the first match of a Slam was at this year’s French Open, where he made the last eight.
Most of his wins have come on clay but he has picked up some good results on the hard surface, too, including on the Challenger Series late last year.
Though the chances of Raducanu retaining her title appear unlikely, there are plenty of youngsters at Flushing Meadows who will be eager to become the next teen showstopper.