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Edberg: Men Most Likely to Win Maiden Major

The Big 3 may well be MIA for the US Open next month.

Grand Slam king Roger Federer is out for the season after undergoing his second right knee surgery.

Defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic have both suggested they could skip the Flushing Meadows major, which starts on August 31st, and both committed to the Madrid Masters, which begins the day after the US Open ends on September 13th.

More: Djokovic Derides Witch Hunt, Unsure on US Open

The Big 3 have combined to win 13 consecutive major championships.

So which man is most likely to break through and win a first Grand Slam title?

Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg says three-time major finalist Dominic Thiem is the most likely candidate to master a major.

"Thiem showed he could have won the Australian Open this year very easily—that was a big chance for him," Edberg told friends and fellow Hall of Famers Mats Wilander and Boris Becker on Eurosport's Tennis Legends podcast. "If Rafa wasn't there, I'm sure he's gonna win the French Open one day. [Thiem is] probably the closest one today I would say.

"But at the same time [Alexander] Zverev has shown a lot of potential. He sort of lost track a little but, but it doesn't take much to get back on the right track again. [Stefanos] Tsitsipas has shown what he can do. He's definitely knocking on the door as well. You can probably name a few others, but Thiem I would say at the moment [is closest to breaking through.] Though it can all change."

Marin Cilic, who defeated Federer and Kei Nishikori in succession to capture the 2014 US Open is the last man to break through and win a maiden major.

Tennis Express

Former world No. 1 Edberg believes the unique conditions of this US Open—the USTA will ban fans and media and put players in a "safety bubble" due to the Coronavirus—will present more opportunity for a first-time Slam winner.

"It's gonna be very different now because what we've been going through around the world here with COVID it's gonna be sort of a new start in many ways," Edberg said. "Because everybody's had a lot of time off. A lot of people have not been used to have time off.

"So there could be some opportunities here for young players, for new players because it's gonna be so different. Just imagine when tennis comes back there's gonna be no people in the crowd. It's gonna be quiet. It's gonna be so different so it will be very interesting once tennis gets going again."

Photo credit: Generali Open Kitzbühel