Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 1 of the 2020 US Open.
They really went ahead and did the damn thing.
Mere hours before the launch of the 2020 US Open, Novak Djokovic, Vasek Pospisil and John Isner apparently resigned from their role on the ATP Player Council to form the new Professional Tennis Players Association and represent the interests of male tennis players outside of the one governing body supposed to work toward that (i.e. the ATP).
Now a few days after the news broke, details about this new group are still scarce but we do know that the new PTPA is said to want to work at helping singles players ranked in the top 500 and doubles players ranked in the top 200. We also know that this new group doesn’t include female tennis players as of this writing and that the ATP, WTA, ITF and all four Grand Slams see the PTPA as a threat: why else would they have released a strong-worded statement that mentions how the ATP plays a “role in representing the best interests of players” through it all and during “a time for even greater collaboration, not division”?
It’s in this context that the US Open, presumably one of the four biggest events of the tennis season, gets underway today. Here are three matches you should definitely pay attention to if you’re still, you know, inclined to watch tennis matches.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Novak Djokovic  vs Damir Dzumhur (7pm start)
It’s easy to forget, given the type of season this has been and considering how involved the man has been on topics that go beyond the mere idea of playing tennis, but Djokovic has yet to lose a match this season. Moving forward, we’ll tune in for every single match the Serb plays.
Louis Armstrong Stadium: Anastasija Sevastova  vs Cori Gauff (Not before 3pm)
For her encore at the US Open after making the third round a year ago, 16-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff gets an opponent well within striking distance of her. Anastasija Sevastova and Gauff are at opposite ends of their respective careers, but both play compelling and competitive tennis. Yet, watching this first round match tomorrow afternoon is all about seeing whether the American teenager can enrapture her home Slam the same way she did a year ago.
Arthur Ashe Stadium: Naomi Osaka  vs Misaki Doi (Second night match)
Never let the past few days overlook the fact that Naomi Osaka essentially halted the Western & Southern Open all on her own when she announced that she wouldn’t compete in her semifinal match last week. That’s real power.
The US Open was the site of Osaka’s first breakthrough on the WTA and, if she can overcome the hamstring injury that forced her to retire at last week’s final, she’ll be a force again this time. Unless, you know, her thoughts are on entirely different (and more important) things than tennis.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG