Serena Williams is expected to make her final appearance at the US Open in this year's edition

Serena Williams has held a first-round tie against world No. 80 Danka Kovinic at the US Open

Serena Williams gets a first-round tie against world No. 80 Danka Kovinic at the US Open as the 23-time Grand Slam winner heads into her last-ever tournament, while Raducanu takes on Cornet and men’s champion Medvedev against Kozlov starts

  • Serena Williams, who is expected to be eliminated after the Open, meets Anett Kontaveit
  • Emma Raducanu will begin her mission to defend her title against Alize Cornet
  • Daniil Medvedev plays the American Stefan Kozlov
  • But world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will not play due to his unvaccinated status

Serena Williams will begin her swan song at the US Open against Danka Kovinic as this will be her last time playing in Flushing – and overall – before her expected post-tournament retirement.

Williams returned to the court in June after a year-long absence from tennis, losing in the first round at Wimbledon before also suffering early exits in Cincinnati and Toronto.

If she manages to get past Kovinic, the out-of-form Williams will face No. 2 Anett Kontaveit.

Serena Williams is expected to make her final appearance at the US Open in this year's edition

Serena Williams is expected to make her final appearance at the US Open in this year’s edition

Elsewhere inside the opening Feld, reigning women’s champion Emma Raducanu will face Alize Cornet while 2020 champion Naomi Osaka faces a tough test against number 19 Danielle Collins.

In the men’s reigning champion Daniel Medvedev is to play the American Stefan Kozlov.

Medvedev also has Wimbledon finalist Nick Kyrgios and 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta in his quarter of the bracket.

Emma Raducanu will be looking to defend her Open crown after winning the tournament last year

Emma Raducanu will be looking to defend her Open crown after winning the tournament last year

Meanwhile, world No. 3 Rafael Nadal will play Rinky Hijikata while his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz will take on Sebastian Baez.

However, men’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will miss the tournament as it was confirmed hours before the draw that he will not be competing as he is not vaccinated against COVID.

Djokovic is unable to make the trip due to the US government’s requirement that non-US citizens be vaccinated to enter the country.

Novak Djokovic will not play due to US government vaccination rules for non-citizens

Novak Djokovic will not play due to US government vaccination rules for non-citizens

Daniil Medvedev defeated Djokovic in the final of the tournament for his first Grand Slam last year

Daniil Medvedev defeated Djokovic in the final of the tournament for his first Grand Slam last year

“Unfortunately I can’t travel to the US Open in New York this time,” said Djokovic tweeted Thursday before the draw.

“Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck my fellow players! I will stay in good shape and positive mood and wait for an opportunity to compete again.

Meanwhile, Djokovic’s rival Nadal faces a brutal potential path to the final.

The Spaniard could face Miomir Kecmanovic (No.32), Diego Schwartzman (No.14), Cameron Norrie (No.7) and Carlos Alcaraz (No.3) – where reigning champion Medvedev might be waiting.

Elsewhere, 10th seed American Taylor Fritz is in the same quarter as 4th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and 13th seed Matteo Berrettini and could face 12th seed Casper Ruud in a potential round of 16 match.

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