Djokovic faces now or never at US Open

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August 31, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, United States; Novak Djokovic (SRB) serves the ball against Damir Dzumhur (BIH) on day one of the 2020 US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Aug. 27 (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic was hesitant to call the US Open a present or never, but the history-seeking Serbian noted on Friday that an opportunity for a one-calendar-year Grand Slam could be there one of them.

The fact that only two male tennis players – Rod Laver and Don Budge – ever achieved the feat underlines how rare such moments are.

Add to that a Slam on the Djokovic calendar – winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year – would be capped with a record 21st major title and the stakes could be just as high. than they have ever been for a player in a single tennis event.

“I don’t mean it’s now or never for me because I think I’m going to have more opportunities in my life to win slams. I don’t know if I’m going to have more opportunities to win calendar That’s why it’s a unique opportunity, ”Djokovic told reporters in New York.

“At the same time, I don’t need to put extra pressure on what I already have, which is quite important for myself and of course for the people around me,” added Djokovic.

Djokovic has said on several occasions that pressure is a privilege, and the world’s highest ranked player can expect tons of it when the game begins on Monday at Flushing Meadows.

Since Laver in 1969, no man has won all four Grand Slam titles in the same year. With the three big rivals Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal injured, Djokovic is a favorite to join this exclusive club.

“Obviously I know what a great opportunity this is for me here in New York, where historically I have played really well over the years. But I also thrive under pressure. ‘ve done it several times in my career, ”said Djokovic.

“This is what you work for day in and day out, all of your life, to put yourself in a unique position to win Grand Slam tournaments and make history. I have this chance, and I will try to make it happen. ‘use,’ Djokovic added.

Without Federer and Nadal, Djokovic is aware that the spotlight will be intensely on him.

On the pitch, instead of former rivals, it’s young players Alexander Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas who 34-year-old Djokovic says stand between him and history.

“My participation here, without the participation of Rafa and Roger, I can feel it,” said Djokovic, who will be back in action for the first time since a disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics. “Regardless of the absence of Roger and Rafa, you still have tennis players of extraordinary quality who are probably currently on a peak streak.

Djokovic added: “Zverev, Medvedev, Tsitsipas – these are the three best contenders for the title. Everyone wants to do well in the Grand Slam. Anything can really happen.”

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Will Dunham

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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