NEW YORK – Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams face challenging early tests at the U.S. Open following Friday’s draws for the year’s last Grand Slam starting on Monday.
Djokovic, who has been bothered by a wrist injury, faces towering Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in his opening match at Flushing Meadows, and is likely to meet 48th-ranked Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in the second round.
Vesely beat the Serbian world No. 1 earlier this season on clay in Monte Carlo.
“I’m doing everything in my power . . . to make sure that I’m as close to 100 percent as possible,” Djokovic told reporters, saying he hurt his wrist in Rio de Janeiro a few days before the start of the Olympic tournament, where he lost in the first round.
Williams, recovering from a shoulder injury that contributed to her third-round exit in Rio, drew Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova as her first opponent.
The 34-year-old American, seeking to break her tie with Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era with 22, has a 4-1 career record against Makarova, but lost to the Russian in the fourth round at the 2012 Australian Open.
Williams is in a strong quarter that also includes fifth seed Simona Halep of Romania and 16th-seeded Australian Sam Stosur, who beat the American in the 2011 U.S. Open final.
Djokovic is seeded to face either Frenchman Richard Gasquet or big-serving American John Isner in the fourth round, with France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or 2014 champion Marin Cilic, who ended Andy Murray’s win streak in the Cincinnati final, as possible quarterfinal opponents.
Men’s second seed Murray, who ran off 22 wins in a row including his second Wimbledon title and successful defense of his Olympic crown, appeared to get a more favorable draw.
Murray opens against Czech Lukas Rosol, has Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria or Feliciano Lopez of Spain as potential fourth-round foes with sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori possibly waiting for him in the quarters.
Third seed Stan Wawrinka, who is in Murray’s half of the draw, begins against Spanish veteran Fernando Verdasco, and may have to deal with a young Australian, Bernard Tomic or Nick Kyrgios, in the fourth round.