| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Photo credit: Kenneth B. Goldberg

The USTA has announced that world number one Novak Djokovic and defending U.S. Open champion Andy Murray will headline the men’s singles field for the 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championships, set for Aug. 26 through Sept.9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. The player field features six former U.S. Open champions, including Murray, Djokovic (2011), Rafael Nadal (2010), Juan Martin del Potro (2009), five-time U.S. Open champion Roger Federer (2004-08) and Lleyton Hewitt (2001). Each of the world’s top 102 men received direct entry into the U.S. Open, representing 37 countries.

Leading the entry list is world number one Djokovic, who has reached the U.S. Open final every year since 2010. He won his sixth major title at this year’s Australian Open, defeating Murray in the final and has held the number one ranking since November 2012.

World number two and defending U.S. Open champion Murray has reached the men’s singles final at the last four major events he has played (he missed the French Open this year due to injury) and returns to New York as the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years, defeating Djokovic in the final earlier this month. He also captured the singles gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

David Ferrer, currently ranked a career-best No. 3 in the world, is also entered in this year’s US Open. He reached the semifinals of the US Open in 2007 and 2012, and this year, he reached his first Grand Slam final, at the French Open, losing to Nadal.

World No. 4 and reigning French Open champion Nadal, is seeking his 13th career Grand Slam singles title. Nadal did not compete in the US Open last year due to injury.

World number five Roger Federer is competing for his sixth U.S. Open title, which would surpass Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors for the most U.S. Open men’s singles titles in the Open Era. In 2007, Federer became the only man to win the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series and US Open titles in the same year.

Following Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer, Nadal and Federer on the entry list are Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic at sixth,a 2012 U.S. Open semifinalist and the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up; number seven del Potro of Argentina, the 2009 U.S. Open singles champion, who reached the semifinals at this year’s Wimbledon; number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up and a four-time Grand Slam semifinalist; Richard Gasquet of France, a 2007 Wimbledon semifinalist at nine; and number 10 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, a 2010 U.S. Open quarterfinalist.

American men who received direct entry into this year’s tournament include: Number 19 Sam Querrey of Las Vegas; number 21 John Isner of Tampa, Fla.; number 62 Mardy Fish of Los Angeles; number 81 Michael Russell of Houston; number 84 Jack Sock of Lincoln, Neb.; number 86 James Blake of Westport, Conn.; number 92 Denis Kudla of Arlington, Va.; and number 98 Steve Johnson of Orange, Calif.

Michal Przysiezny of Poland, currently ranked 102nd in the world, was the last player accepted directly into the men’s field of 128. Additionally, two players used protected rankings to gain direct entry: Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay and Jurgen Zopp of Estonia. Sixteen more players will gain entry through the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament, held Aug.20-23, while the remaining eight spots are wild cards awarded by the USTA.

Among the players competing in the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament will be the winner of the fourth annual U.S. Open National Playoffs – Men’s Championship, held during the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series women’s event in New Haven, Conn., prior to the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament. The USTA created the U.S. Open National Playoffs in 2010 to allow players 14 and older, regardless of playing ability or nationality, to vie for a spot in the U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament via one of 13 sectional qualifying tournaments.