No pressure, thought of 21st Grand Slam motivating: Novak Djokovic
World No. 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, will be chasing history over the next fortnight at the US Open, where a title would give him a record-breaking 21 majors and the Grand Slam, having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.
Top seeds are the top favourites to go far and go deep in the tournament. Everyone wants to do well at Grand Slams. Anything can really happen. But I've been in this situation numerous times in my life.
NEW YORK: World No. 1 tennis player, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, will be chasing history over the next fortnight at the US Open, where a title would give him a record-breaking 21 majors and the Grand Slam, having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon this year.
Djokovic is currently tied with Swiss legend Roger Federer and Spanish clay-court specialist Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles apiece and a fourth US Open title to add to his three previous triumphs — in 2011, 2015 and 2018 — will move him past the two tennis stalwarts.
The 34-year-old Djokovic said that he was not allowing the pressure of expectation to overcome him, and was rather motivated to play his best tennis.
"Obviously I know how big of an opportunity is in front of me here in New York, where historically I've played really well over the years. It's probably the most entertaining tennis court that we have. [The] crowd will be back [in the] stadium," Djokovic said.
"I can't wait. Honestly I'm very motivated to play my best tennis. But I have to hit one ball at a time, try to be in the moment, have a guiding star in a way, a dream to win a Slam here, which would obviously complete the calendar Slam," Djokovic told atptour.com.
"I'm hugely inspired and motivated by that, no doubt. But at the same time, I know how to balance things out mentally, with lots of expectations around. My participation here, without Rafa and Roger participating, I feel it. I know there are a lot of people who are going to be watching my matches and expecting me to do well and fight for a Slam."
Djokovic added that even without 20-time major winners Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer competing at Flushing Meadows, there will be plenty of tough challengers. Second seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia triumphed in Toronto, Germany's Alexander Zverev won the Tokyo Olympics and Cincinnati, and Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas is also a big contender.
"You still have tremendous quality tennis players that are right now on hot streaks, like Zverev, Medvedev, Tsitsipas. Those are the three top contenders I see for the title. But a Grand Slam is a Grand Slam. It's a two-week-long event, best-of-five [sets]. Everyone wants to do well at the Grand Slams. Anything can really happen," Djokovic said.
"Of course the top seeds are the top favourites to go far and go deep in the tournament, but I've been in this situation numerous times in my life."
Djokovic has not competed since the Tokyo Olympics. But the Serbian said that his preparation for the season's final major has gone well. IANS