“Now it gets interesting. Now I think is the time where it gets really interesting. I know who is where in the draw, I know who I can play. I know who the rest of the guys can play,” Zverev said, pausing before giving a rueful shake of his head. “We see where it goes from here.”

Five days later, the men’s event at the U.S. Open has been winnowed to four contenders — No. 2 seed Dominic Thiem, No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev, Zverev and No. 20 seed Pablo Carreño Busta — and yet not much has changed at all. Djokovic’s absence still looms over the men’s draw; it introduced the chance for tennis to have a new men’s Grand Slam champion for the first time since 2014.

It also introduced yet another unexpected element to a major tournament already bursting with unexpected elements: pressure.

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  • Novak Djokovic’s was eliminated early in this year’s US Open  
  • Dominic Thiem is expected to be one of the favorites to win this year’s Grand Slam
  • It will be the first time since 2016 that someone outside the big three will win a major tournament

The absence of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer coupled with the unexpected disqualification of Novak Djokovic opens the opportunity for a new Grand Slam winner. After Dominic Thiem endured a straight-set duel against Felix Auger Aliassime, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1, the 27-year-old poses as a possible winner in this year’s major.

The last time a Grand Slam winner was crowned outside the big three of Djokovic, Nadal and Federer was back in 2016. The most recent straight-set victory of Thiem served as an indication of what he can do on the court. The manner of how he dictated the pace against Auger Aliassime proved

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Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1 tennis player, could potentially face additional fines from the United States Tennis Association following his dramatic disqualification from the U.S. Open on Sunday night.

In addition to missing out on the $3 million in prize money up for grabs in the U.S. Open, Djokovic has been stripped of his $250,000 (£190,000) in prize money from reaching the Round of 16 of the tournament after swiping a ball away that struck a female line judge in the throat.

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