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US Open: Is Australia any closer to finding a Grand Slam winner?

Wimbledon came and went without any significant Australian success in either the men's or women's singles and the nation will be hoping for better at the US Open.

Australia's last men's singles champion at Flushing Meadows was Lleyton Hewitt back in 2001, while the last success in the women's singles was Sam Stosur's success in 2011.

Hewitt was also the last man to claim a Grand Slam title for Australia when he won Wimbledon 2002, while Ash Barty's triumph on home soil in early 2022 was the last women's victory.

So can Australia expect another Grand Slam winner in the near future, given that the cupboard looks pretty bare at the moment?

WhatUS Open
WhereBillie Jean King NTC, Flushing Meadows, New York
WhenMonday 28th August - Sunday 10th September 2023
How to watch9Now & Stan Sport
OddsMen's - Carlos Alcaraz 2.20, Novak Djokovic 2.50, Daniil Medvedev 5.50
Women's - Iga Swiatek 3.50, Aryna Sabalenka 5.50, Elena Rybakina 7.00

Kyrgios the lone men's contender

Nick Kyrgios was forced to miss Wimbledon due to a wrist injury, having sat out almost the whole of the first half of 2023 due to a serious knee problem.

Prior to those setbacks he had reached the final of Wimbledon and the quarter-finals of the US Open, losing out to Novak Djokovic in his first Grand Slam final.

Kyrgois can be backed at 26.00 to win the US Open later this year, but whether he will even be able to participate has yet to be decided and at 28 years old it would seem that he has only a few more years to break his Grand Slam duck.

Djokovic may still be going strong at the age of 36, but he is very much the exception, leaving Kyrgios with time ebbing away to become a major champion, especially now that Carlos Alcaraz is threatening to be a dominant force in the game.

Meanwhile, much was expected of Alex de Minaur going into Wimbledon, with the 24-year-old having reached the final at Queen's Club and pushed Alcaraz hard in that showpiece match.

However, De Minaur was unlucky to come up against 2021 beaten finalist Matteo Berrettini in round two and was unable to match the power of the big Italian, leaving Christopher O'Connell as the only Australian to reach round three at SW19.

The loss to Berrettini highlighted the problem De Minaur has when facing players who can overpower him, and he will need to find an answer to that issue if he is to become a Grand Slam contender.

De Minaur is out at 67.00 to win the US Open, having made his only Grand Slam quarter-final to date at Flushing Meadows in 2020.

Injury sidelines Tomljanovic

Just as Kyrgois was ruled out of Wimbledon by injury, so was the leading Australia women's player, Alja Tomljanovic.

Again, similar to Kyrgios, Tomljanovic has seen her 2023 campaign completely ruined by a knee injury, just as she seemed to be finding a new level of play.

She reached the last eight at both Wimbledon and Flushing Meadows in 2022, while her runs to the last eight at SW19 in both that year and 2021 were ended by the eventual champions - Barty and Elena Rybakina.

Two years older than Kyrgios at 30, Tomljanovic may have seen her best hope of challenging for a Grand Slam title slip away, with such a long-term absence due to injury a huge blow to fight back from.

She is currently ranked at 63 in the world and the next Australian woman in the singles standings is Kimberley Birrell down at 111, highlighting the lack of quality currently plaguing the game Down Under.

Sadly there is also not too much reason to enthuse about the immediate prospects of talent piling through from the junior ranks, with Barty the last player to win a girls Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2011.

Boys success last came via Alexei Popyrin at the French Open in 2017, with the 23-year-old currently at 91 in the senior rankings and yet to make it through to round four at a Grand Slam.

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