James McGee drawn against Kazakh in US Open first round

Dubliner ranked 86 places below Alexander Nedovyesov who he will meet on Monday

James McGee of Ireland will face  Kazakhstan’s Alexander Nedovyesov in the first round of the US Open. Photograph:  Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

James McGee of Ireland will face Kazakhstan’s Alexander Nedovyesov in the first round of the US Open. Photograph: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

 

Ireland’s James McGee has been drawn against Kazakhstan’s Alexander Nedovyesov in the first round of the US Open.

McGee, who qualified for the main draw on Friday on the back of three impressive wins at Flushing Meadows, will meet the 108-ranked Kazakh in the third game on Court 13 tomorrow.

The Dubliner, ranked 194th in the world, is in the same quarter of the draw as world number one Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Andy Murray, but Nedovyesov will be foremost in his mind.

The Davis Cup player has been ranked as high as 73rd and made it to the second round of the French Open this season, before being knocked out by Thomas Berdych.

Djokovic has reached the US Open final in each of the last four years, beating Rafael Nadal in 2011 but losing to the Spaniard last year and in 2010, and also to Andy Murray two years ago.

With Nadal missing as he nurses a wrist injury, Djokovic goes into the tournament as favourite, and his expectations remain high, despite looking a shadow of his usual self when he suffered early defeats in the Masters tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Djokovic, whose wife is expecting a baby, has been seeking advice from coach Boris Becker about how to cope with the competing responsibilities in his life as he prepares to begin his Flushing Meadows campaign against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

“I’m feeling better and better as the days go by,” said the Serb. “It’s something that is encouraging me for this year’s US Open campaign. Obviously I want to peak with my form at the US Open. Yes, I wanted to do better in Canada and Cincinnati. Unfortunately I wasn’t even close to my best.

“I have high expectations for myself. I always have. Especially at this stage of my career where I feel like now is the time that I’m at my peak physical strength. I want to use this time of my career as much as I can to win as many matches as possible.

“Obviously I know I’m not the only one that has this kind of optimistic mindset. There are many players who are fighting for the same trophy. This is the last Grand Slam of the year, and this is where you want to play your best.”

The absence of Nadal coupled with doubts over the form of Djokovic and Murray makes this potentially the most open grand slam in years, although Federer is in ominous form.

Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic are leading the next generation’s push to break into the grand slam winners’ circle, and both will fancy their chances here.

“When Rafa is not around it changes because he always has been a favourite in every grand slam for the last seven, eight, 10 years,” said Djokovic. “Definitely the tournament and tennis is losing when they don’t have Rafa in the tournament. I know that there is one thing for sure: everybody is starting from scratch. Everybody starts from Monday.”

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