Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic on a mission for his Grand Slam record

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If he wins the US Open, which starts on Monday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will take his major championship record to 21 with the added bonus of a calendar Grand Slam not seen since 1969. He definitively beats Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is vying for the title of “best of all time” or the English GOAT.

Be the GOAT, (Greatest of All Time, greatest player of all time). That is Novak Djokovic’s stated goal at the US Open, which begins Monday, August 30th. By winning the final Grand Slam tournament of the season, he would bring the Serbian major title record to 21 in a season with a Grand Slam as a bonus.

More than seven consecutive victories over New York cement and world No. 1 already in his sport’s Pantheon will finally be able to act on his dominance over Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. “After his sixth title at Wimbledon in July. Notably, with each of the twenty Grand Slams on the list, there won’t be any 40-year-old Swiss and 35-year-old Spanish athletes contesting that status. The first is that forced him to have another surgery and left some doubts about the rest of his career. because of a stubborn knee, and the second because of a foot injury.

But are these champions, with whom he has been fighting for the history books for almost fifteen years, still his main rivals? Except in the clay of Paris, where the 13-time crowned Nadal fell from his throne in the spring, the gap seems to be growing after an epic semi-final against “Nole”.

Long-toothed teenagers

The 34-year-old Serb now faces a succession that is more or less called upon to prevail in the courts in the short term.

This competition was first embodied by Alexander Zverev: the man in summer form won Olympic gold in Tokyo and the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati after he had his way in the semifinals.

“I’m extremely hungry. I’m not satisfied,” he warned, with the world fourth-placed German who could get his way in the semi-finals. He touched his first Major in New York last year, but Dominic Thiem knocked him down in the final. Unable to defend the Austrian title, injured his right ankle.

Desperate against Djokovic in the Australian Open final in February, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (n°2) was disgusted by Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (n°3) Roland-Garros’ last pitch in June, Russia’s Andrey Rublev (n°) °7), even Wimbledon No one since Rod Laver in 1969 has made it to the Grand Slam in the same year, while even the Italian Matteo Berretini (n°8), who resisted vainly, dreamed of depriving him of a historic feat.

The Australian, who was the undisputed king of tennis before the open period, achieved this performance for the first time in 1962, twenty-four years after the American Don Budge.

“What Novak has accomplished this year is phenomenal. I really believe he can do it. He’s done 75% of the way. He’s going to play hard, probably his best surface. He’s the big favourite.” August.

Same story as Medvedev, 2019 US Open finalist and final winner of the Masters 1000 in Toronto: “Novak will be a contender for victory. He’s already won 20 Majors. He has experience. So he’s a man under pressure, but I think he loves it”

The tendency to self-aggrandizement, to reverse badly attempted situations is indeed written in his DNA, but the genome has its flaws and Djokovic has the ability to turn to the dark side. Like last year, he was disqualified after smacking a line judge in the throat in anger and frustration in the round of 16.

But in the absence of Federer and Nadal, a boulevard had taken shape in his pursuit of a 4th title in New York. But the ultra-favourite edition was too strong to assume at the time.

“This time it’s still huge. But I’m used to it. It’s not the first time. And the pressure, well, it’s a privilege. We work every day of our lives to get there, win the Grand Slam and make history,” he told the media on Friday.

After the bloodshed last year, Djokovic vowed to “take a lesson to progress as a player and as a person”. Twelve months later, he has a unique opportunity to rise up in the world on his own, while striving to hold the same place in the hearts of fans as Federer and Nadal.

with AFP

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