Serena Williams earns first-round draw against world No. 80 Danka Kovinic at US Open

Serena Williams earns first-round draw against world 80th Danka Kovinic at US Open as 23-time Grand Slam winner heads to her final tournament, while Raducanu takes on Cornet and men’s champion Medvedev takes on Kozlov

  • Serena Williams, who is expected to retire after the Open, will face Anett Kontaveit
  • Emma Raducanu will begin her mission to defend her title against Alize Cornet
  • Daniil Medvedev will play American Stefan Kozlov
  • But world number 1 Novak Djokovic will not play due to his unvaccinated status

Serena Williams will begin her US Open swansong against Danka Kovinic, as she plays for the last time in Flushing – and overall – before her scheduled retirement after the tournament.

Williams returned to the court in June after a year-long absence from tennis, losing in the first round of Wimbledon before also being knocked out early in Cincinnati and Toronto.

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

Serena Williams is set to play the US Open for the last time in this year's edition

Serena Williams is set to play the US Open for the last time in this year’s edition

THE BEST OF THE WOMEN’S FIRST ROUND

Emma Raducanu vs. Alice Cornet

Serena Williams vs. Danko Kovinic

Every Swiatek against. Jasmine Paolini

Naomi Osaka vs. Danielle Collins

Anet Kontaveit vs. Jaqueline Christian

Elsewhere in the Open field, reigning women’s champion Emma Raducanu will face Alize Cornet, while 2020 champion Naomi Osaka will face a tough test against No. 19 seed Danielle Collins.

On the men’s side, defending champion Daniel Medvedev is to play the American Stefan Kozlov.

Medvedev is the first non-Big 4 member to be No. 1 seed to a Grand Slam in 19 years.

Medvedev also has Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios and No. 12 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in his quarterback.

Meanwhile, world number 3 Rafael Nadal will face Rinky Hijikata, while his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz will face Sebastian Baez.

However, men’s world number one Novak Djokovic will be absent from the tournament as it was confirmed hours before the draw that he will not take part as he is not vaccinated against COVID.

Djokovic is unable to make the trip due to the US government rule that non-US citizens must be vaccinated to enter the country.

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

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

Novak Djokovic won't play due to US government vaccination rules for non-citizens

Novak Djokovic won’t play due to US government vaccination rules for non-citizens

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

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

BEST OF FIRST ROUND MEN

Daniil Medvedev vs. Stefan Kozlov

Nick Kyrgios vs. Thanasi Kokkinakis

Rafael Nadal vs. Rinky Hijikata

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Sebastien Baez

Casper Ruud vs. Kyle Edmund

‘Unfortunately, I won’t be able to travel to New York this time for the US Open’, Djokovic tweeted Thursday before the draw.

‘Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my gaming friends! I will stay fit and have a positive spirit 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 No. 32 seed Miomir Kecmanovic, No. 14 seed Diego Schwartzman, No. 7 seed Cameron Norrie and No. 3 seed Carlos Alcaraz – where the defending champion Medvedev could wait.

Elsewhere, 10th-seeded American Taylor Fritz is in the same quarter as No. 4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and No. 13 Matteo Berrettini, and could face No. 12 Casper Ruud in a possible clash in the round of 16.

The tournament will start on Monday.

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