NEW YORK – It will be Serena Williams’ first opponent in what is expected to be the last tournament of her career, the US Open Thank you Kovinic.
If you win that, Williams could hit the seed at number 2 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the second round.
The brackets for the women’s and men’s singles events were released Thursday by the US Tennis Association.
The game starts on Monday; First round matches will take place on that day and on Tuesday. It was not yet known when Williams would start.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion, who turns 41 on September 26, announced this month that she is preparing to give up her playing career. She didn’t explicitly say when she planned to quit, but made it sound like the US Open would mark her farewell.
Williams has won the hard court tournament at Flushing Meadows six times.
She is only 1/3 this season, having recently returned to singles action after a year’s absence following a first round injury exit at Wimbledon in 2021.
Her first match back came at the All England Club in late June, and she lost her first set there in a third-set tiebreak to 115th place harmony tan.
Kovinic is a 27-year-old from Montenegro who is ranked 80th in the WTA Rankings this week and has moved up to 46th. Williams and Kovinic have never played each other in singles.
After winning a match at a tournament in Toronto, Williams was eliminated in straight sets by the Tokyo Olympics gold medalist there Belinda Bencicthen lost again in straight sets to the reigning US Open champion in Cincinnati Emma Raducanu.
As Williams has said she is preparing to retire from tennis, her every move will be the center of attention as the US Open begins.
While Williams has spent more than 300 weeks at No. 1, her lack of activity has contributed to a slide; she is 410 this week.
That meant she wouldn’t be seeded in New York and could have been placed anywhere on the field – and against any player.
Other possible opponents for Williams should she make it through the tournament are No. 27 seed Martina Trevisan of Italy in the third round and runners-up at the 2021 US Open Leylah Fernandez Of Canada or French Open Champion 2021 Barbara Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the fourth.
She could only face her sister Venus in the finals because they are on opposite sides of the bracket.
Possible quarter-finals is Swiatek against No. 8 Jessica Pegulaand #4 Paula Badosa against No. 6 Arina Sabalenka in the top half of the field and Kontaveit – or maybe Williams – second against Wimbledon Ons Jabeurand #3 Maria Sakkari against No. 7 Simona Halep or second at the French Open Coco Gauff on the lower half.
Just before the draw was announced, some expected news arrived: Novak Djokovic tweeted that he will not be in New York for the US Open.
The 35-year-old from Serbia, who owns 21 Grand Slam titles, is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Foreign citizens who have not received the injection are not allowed to enter the United States.