NEW YORK — After a bunch of bad news about big names missing the U.S. Open, the folks who run the tournament are searching for a silver lining. Who could blame them?

They figure there’s no time like the present to promote the future stars of tennis.

At least Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal still will be in the field when play begins Monday, although even that didn’t quite work out for the U.S. Tennis Association and its TV partners. The presence of the two greats – and the tantalizing prospect of what could be their transcendent rivalry’s first clash at Flushing Meadows – is not as enticing as it could have been, because the luck of the draw set up the bracket so they can only meet in a semifinal, not the final.

There’s a significant dropoff in wattage from there: An event already without the sport’s top woman, 23-time major champion Serena Williams (she is pregnant), will be contested without three of the top five members of the men’s rankings, and five of the top 11.

Andy Murray, the 2012 champion and No. 2 seed, became the latest to pull out when he unexpectedly withdrew Saturday, citing an injured hip that could sideline him for the remainder of the season. That followed withdrawals by reigning champion Stan Wawrinka and the man he beat in last year’s final, Novak Djokovic, a two-time champion and five-time runner-up. Milos Raonic, the 2016 Wimbledon runner-up, and Kei Nishikori, the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up, are also missing because of injuries.

“We want the players to do what’s best for them in terms of their bodies and their health. But we know one thing: Somebody’s got to win the tournament,” tournament spokesman Chris Widmaier said in an interview. “And we think tennis fans are going to see a lot of new, exciting young talent.”

To that end, Widmaier said, the USTA is putting more effort into telling fans about players who might not be household names.

One example: Alexander Zverev, a 20-year-old German considered the “Next Big Thing,” will play under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.