'Always some drama': Players react as Serena Williams, Nick Kyrgios given top billing at US Open

Ashleigh Barty has the honour of playing the first match on Arthur Ashe Court at the US Open but it's no surprise that Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova and combustible Nick Kyrgios have been given prime-time billing.

The 22nd career meeting - and first at Flushing Meadows - between former world No.1s Williams and Sharapova will be the opening act of Monday's night session on centre court at the year's last grand slam.

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"Yeah, when I saw the draw, I kind of refreshed my feed and saw that first round pop up," Barty said when asked her opinion of the glamour opening round showdown.

Williams owns 23 major singles trophies, while Sharapova has five. They've met at every other major tournament at least once, including in a final at each, but never before at the US Open.

"Of course I'm going to watch it. I know you all are going to watch it. I think everyone in New York is going to watch it," defending champion and top seed Naomi Osaka said.

"Yeah, I mean, for me, I'm not that surprised that that happened, because, like, at every grand slam, there is always some sort of drama. You know what I mean? Like a first round. Like, 'Oh, my God!"'

Serena Williams and Nick Kyrgios have been given top billing in the first round of the US Open. Pictures: Getty Images

The first match in the main stadium on Monday will be French Open champion Barty against Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas, followed by defending men's champion and top seed Novak Djokovic against Roberto Carballes Baena.

Then at night, Williams-Sharapova will be followed by 20-time grand slam champion Roger Federer against qualifier Sumit Nagal.

Williams won 18 matches in a row against Sharapova before the streak ended when she handed the Russian a walkover at last year's French Open, and leads their overall series 19-3.

The US Tennis Association (USTA) has released its show-court schedules for days one and two and they clearly recognised the box office attraction of the entertaining and wildly unpredictable Kyrgios.

A boisterous New York crowd is a near certainty on Tuesday night when the 28th-seeded Australian takes to Louis Armstrong Stadium to face American Steve Johnson.

Tuesday's participants in Arthur Ashe Stadium include Osaka while 18-time major title winner Rafael Nadal will meet Australian John Millman in night action.

In an effort to avoid the sort of confusion that reigned over last year's US Open final between Williams and Osaka, the USTA wants to make the sport's rules - and chair umpires' rulings - clearer to on-site spectators and TV viewers.

So when a player is warned by an official about a code violation - getting coaching during a match, say, or destroying a racquet - that will be displayed on the scoreboard.