It's been nearly seven months since a Grand Slam tennis tournament has taken place, but that drought is about to come to an end. The 2020 U.S. Open will get underway Monday in New York City, marking the first major to take place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The French Open was postponed from late May to late September, while Wimbledon, which was scheduled to begin in late June, was canceled. So, the U.S. Open is the first Grand Slam tournament since the Australian Open, which ended in early February.
For the men, No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic enters as the overwhelming favorite in the U.S. Open with Rafael Nadal (preparing for French Open) and Roger Federer (season-ending knee surgery) not participating. Dominic Thiem (No. 2 seed) and Daniil Medvedev (No. 3) are the other top contenders in the tournament.
Karolina Pliskova, Sofia Kenin, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are the top four seeds in the women's tournament, respectively, and are likely to be the top contenders. Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, the top two ranked women's players in the world, aren't in the field because of COVID-19-related travel concerns.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into this year's event.
Monday, Aug. 31
Noon-6 p.m. ET: First round (ESPN)
6-11 p.m. ET: First round (ESPN2)
Tuesday, Sept. 1
Noon-5 p.m. ET: First round (ESPN)
5-8 p.m. ET: First round (ESPN2)
8-11 p.m. ET: First round (ESPN)
Wednesday, Sept. 2
Noon-6 p.m. ET: Second round (ESPN)
6-11 p.m. ET: Second round (ESPN2)
Thursday, Sept. 3
Noon-11 p.m. ET: Second round (ESPN)
7-9 p.m. ET: Second round (ESPN2)
Complete schedule available at USOpen.org
Novak Djokovic (-120; bet $120 to win $100)
Daniil Medvedev (+600; bet $100 to win $600)
Dominic Thiem (+600)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (+850)
Alexander Zverev (+1600)
Milos Raonic (+2500)
Andrey Rublev (+2800)
Nick Kyrgios (+2800)
Complete list available at Caesars Palace
Naomi Osaka (+400; bet $100 to win $400)
Serena Williams (+550)
Karolina Pliskova (+1000)
Sofia Kenin (+1100)
Petra Kvitova (+1500)
Aryna Sabalenka (+1600)
Garbine Muguruza (+1700)
Coco Gauff (+1800)
Complete list available at Caesars Palace
Even with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in the field most of the time, it's been Novak Djokovic who has been dominating at major tournaments of late. The 33-year-old Serb won the Australian Open earlier this year, marking his fifth victory in the past seven Grand Slam tournaments.
Djokovic is a 17-time major winner, with three of those coming at the U.S. Open. He was last victorious at the tournament in 2018. Last year, Nadal won the U.S. Open while Djokovic lost to Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16, retiring in the third set because of a left shoulder injury. Djokovic is healthy this year, and Wawrinka isn't in the U.S. Open field.
It would be exciting to see Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, the top two seeds, meet in the final after they had an epic showdown in the final of this year's Australian Open. Although Thiem won the second and third sets to take a 2-1 match advantage, Djokovic rallied back and won the fourth and fifth sets to claim the title.
That was the third time that Thiem has reached the final at a major tournament, but the 26-year-old Austrian is still in pursuit of his first Grand Slam title.
However, Thiem will have a challenging path to get to a rematch against Djokovic in the final, as No. 3-seeded Daniil Medvedev, No. 8-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut and former U.S. Open champions Andy Murray and Marin Cilic are all potential opponents he'll have along the way.
Still, this appears to be Djokovic's tournament to lose. He has dominated the major events with Nadal and Federer in recent years, as the trio has combined to win the past 13 Grand Slam titles. It'll be up to Djokovic to keep that streak going.
Things appear to be more open in the women's tournament with no clear-cut favorite to be this year's winner. However, there are many strong competitors who should all realistically have a chance at the U.S. Open title.
Naomi Osaka is the early betting favorite, although she hasn't performed well at major tournaments of late. She won her first two career Grand Slam titles in back-to-back major events (the 2018 U.S. Open and the 2019 Australian Open), but she hasn't made it past the fourth round in any of her past four Grand Slam tournaments.
At last year's U.S. Open, Osaka was the No. 1 seed, but she lost to No. 13-seeded Belinda Bencic in the fourth round. That came a round after Osaka beat 16-year-old American Coco Gauff in straight sets.
A potential Osaka-Gauff rematch could be a highlight on the top side of the bracket at this year's U.S. Open. Although it wasn't a competitive match last year, Gauff upset Osaka at the Australian Open earlier this year, winning in straight sets.
Gauff hasn't made it past the fourth round of a major tournament yet in her career, but she continues to impress with her play and could be poised for a breakthrough at the U.S. Open.
Serena Williams will be looking for her 24th career Grand Slam title, although she hasn't won a major tournament since the 2017 Australian Open. Her last victory at the U.S. Open came in 2014, which was her third straight win at the event.
Karolina Pliskova, the No. 1 seed, is looking to win her first Grand Slam title, as her best showing at a major tournament came in the 2016 U.S. Open, when she reached the final. Meanwhile, No. 2-seeded Sofia Kenin won the Australian Open earlier this year for her first Grand Slam victory, so she'll be looking to claim back-to-back major titles.