US Open preview: The Men

Andy Murray
© PA Photos
Ahead of Monday's US Open at Flushing Meadows, New York, Sports Mole previews the final Grand Slam of the season.

Following the excitement of the Olympic Games, the tennis season enters its final Grand Slam on Monday as the US Open kicks off at Flushing Meadows in New York.

The big news ahead of the tournament is that 2010 winner Rafael Nadal has been forced to pull out with the troublesome knee injury that saw him miss the events in London as well as Toronto and Cincinnati.

His absence is sure to open up the draw for a number of players, so, with that in mind, Sports Mole looks at the chances of a number of players hoping to get their hands on the trophy.

Roger Federer:
The world number one goes into the tournament in the sort of form that could see him tear up the record books once more. The 31-year-old has the Wimbledon Championship, an Olympic silver medal and a record fifth Cincinnati Open title to his name - and that's just in the last two months. A triumph in the Big Apple would see him become the first player in the Open Era to have his name inscribed upon the trophy for a sixth time. You wouldn't put it past him.
Odds: 5/2

Novak Djokovic:
His aura of invincibility may have dropped this year, but you'd be a fool to take the defending champions lightly. A surprising 0-6 6-7 defeat to Federer in the final at Cincinnati may point to a dip in form as the year rolls on, but the Serbian is right at home on the hard courts of the States and has more than a chance of retaining his title.
Odds: 5/4

Andy Murray:
Whenever one of the top three pulls out of a tournament all eyes instantly turn to Murray's chances. Nadal may be out this year but unfortunately for the Brit he's not in that side of the draw. The hard way it is then. If he's to win his first Slam then he'll most likely have to go through Federer in the semis, but, considering his dismantling of the Greatest of All Time at the Olympics, this could be his moment.
Odds: 7/2

David Ferrer:
With his fellow countryman Nadal resting his knee up somewhere in Mallorca, David Ferrer has been bumped up the pecking order to be the fourth seed at this year's Championship. Like a cold caller ringing you up just as you've sat down for your tea, it always takes an extra effort to get rid of Ferrer. He may not have what it takes to win the tournament, but he can derail the chances of others.
Odds: 40/1

Juan Martin del Potro:
Following a string of injuries, who could have begrudged the Argentine his bronze medal at the Olympics? However, his early exit from the Rogers Cup at the hands of Radek Stepanek showed once more that the 23-year-old is as unpredictable as ever. The last man other than Federer, Djokovic or Nadal to win a Slam, he'll certainly have the pumped up NYC crowd egging him on.
Odds: 10/1

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga:
It's been a solid year for the Frenchman at the Slams, with two semi-finals under his belt at the French Open and Wimbledon respectively. However, his performances at Flushing Meadows have often fallen short and he'll need plenty of luck on his side this time around if he is to muscle in on the territory of the top three. But, as with all of the competitors, Nadal's omission will give him renewed hope.
Odds: 30/1

Also watch out for:
Milos Raonic
John Isner
Thomas Berdych
Richard Gasquet
Mardy Fish

Novak Djokovic
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