Novak Djokovic will not compete in the US Open that has just got underway in the past week, as he cannot enter the United States due to not being vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Tennis world is not just missing out on one of its greatest ever players over the next month, but one of its biggest rivalries, with Djokovic having what is perhaps the biggest tennis rivalry ever with Rafael Nadal.
The rivalry is certainly the greatest in the Open era, with it being so closely contested, the Serbian leads 30-29 over 59 games against each other.
The stats show that when both face each other in a final Djokovic wins more often, while in major tournaments Nadal generally defeats Djokovic more often.
Djokovic is also the only player to have recorded victory over the Spaniard in all four major grand slams.
The absence of Djokovic has significantly impacted the order of pre-tournament favourites, Rafael Nadal is offered at 4/1 in Paddy Power’s US Open tennis odds making him the second favourite.
Without Djokovic involved, the Spaniards main competitor is now Daniil Medvedev who is the favorite at 23/10 in Paddy Power’s tennis odds and perhaps a fresh iconic rivalry could be born with the pair being most likely to meet in the final, but it would struggle to live up to the history of the Serbian and Spanish nationals head-to-head battles.
Another potentially exciting rivalry on the court as well as off it could be between Nadal and Nick Kyrgios with both being charismatic individuals with aggressive playstyles that would guarantee a fast paced affair.
If the two individuals were to meet it could be a result dependent on who has the superior mental game, with both being emotional characters that can both equally thrive and struggle based on the crowds backing or lack of.
Kyrgios has already faced Djokovic on a huge occasion back at Wimbledon in the final so potentially facing Nadal in the latter stages, possibly the final would not bring pressure he has yet to experience in his career so far.
In truth Kyrgios is likely to create an emotional rivalry with anyone he faces, due to his tendency to argue with the officials and his opponents with no filter with his game plan somewhat being based around getting into the head of his opponent, with the Australian looking to gain whatever advantage possible as many greats have done successfully in the past.
He will also likely face another current great of the game at the quarter final stage with Medvedev likely to provide the opposition if he is to make it.
This potential face off could provide entertainment on the court as well as drama surrounding it with Medvedev being involved with in court disputes with Stefanos Tsitsipas in the past, in which he had an outburst towards the umpire in which he claimed his opponent was being coached.
With Kyrgios and Medvedev not being shy of making their feelings known it could be provide a really interesting encounter and potentially spark a rivalry.