New York, NY, USA, 24 August 2016 | AAP/AP

Serena Williams is the No.1 seeded woman for the US Open after barely holding on to the top spot in the rankings, and Novak Djokovic is No.1 among the men – while top Australian hope Nick Kyrgios has been handed the 14th seed.

The US Tennis Association adhered to the men’s and women’s rankings in announcing the seedings on Tuesday but Kyrgios, the world No.16, jumped two spots due to the absences of world No.4 Roger Federer and No.8 Tomas Berdych.

The top-16 ranking affords him some protection from the world’s elite, pushing back showdowns against the likes of top players Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal until at least the fourth round.

In the women’s draw, former champion and world No.17 Sam┬áStosur enjoyed a similar benefit, landing┬áthe 16th seed after world No.7 Victoria Azarenka pulled out of the tournament having announced her pregnancy.

Bernard Tomic, the 17th seed, is the only other seeded Australian.

Neither Williams nor Djokovic has played a match since early exits at the Rio Olympics. Williams later said she was dealing with a right shoulder problem, while Djokovic said his left wrist was sore.

Williams could have been overtaken atop the WTA rankings by No.2 Angelique Kerber but stayed at No.1 this week after Kerber fell in the Cincinnati final.

This is the fifth time Williams is the top seed at Flushing Meadows; she has won the tournament six times.

The draw for the year’s last major tennis tournament is Friday, with play beginning on Monday.