What if Novak Djokovic balanced his end of the season and his Grand Slam dreams, as he threw that famous ball last year at Flushing Meadows? But if, remember, that bullet involuntarily sent in the direction of a linesman’s throat, and which got her to be disqualified. In the absence of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem the defending champion, the road to the Grand Slam – victory in the four Grand Slam tournaments in the year – seemed well marked before the US Open, which started on Monday. Seven matches and then at the end of it, History. 52 years after Rod Laver.
Djoko remains more than ever in the race for the supreme triumph but the Serbian machine took a serious chip in the middle of the summer. The engine simply broke at the end of July in the Tokyo furnace.
McEnroe predicted the failure of Tokyo and … the Grand Slam
Star of the Olympic village, the world number one aimed for the “Golden Slam”, that is to say to buy the four tournaments (Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, US Open) as well as Olympic gold. The patriot finally left with thousands of selfies of athletes from all over the world but with nothing around his neck. He finished at the foot of the podium in singles, before forfeiting the small final of the mixed doubles, citing a shoulder injury.
Clearing this rout seems in its strings. Able to re-mobilize in the middle of a match for a toilet break, this time he allowed himself a month of family rest to recover. « I felt exhausted after a long and successful summer. I am in full confidence. There is a lot of pressure around me, but I’m used to it. It is not the first time. And the pressure, well that’s a privilege. We work every day of our lives to achieve this, to win a Grand Slam and make history, ”he said on Friday.
His Tokyo tormentor on his way
Djokovic will face in the first round the Danish Holger Rune, 200th in the world, to whom we wish good luck. For the Serbian, the first difficulties should arise in the quarterfinals. There he could face the Italian colossus Marco Berrettini, whom he defeated in the Wimbledon final, before potentially finding one of his two tormentors from Tokyo. Either Spaniard Pablo Carreno-Busta or fit man Alexander Zverev.
The native of Hamburg comes out of a dream month. Gold in Tokyo, after turning Nole in half, he pocketed his fifth Masters 1000 last week in Cincinnati. The number one customer, this time, is him, even if it’s all the new guard pushing behind, from Tsitsipas (3rd in ATP) to Rublev (5th) passing of course by Medvedev (2nd). “I’m sure he wants 45 Majors and he’ll play until 55 for that (laughs). But we are here to raise our level and beat it, to prevent it from winning, ”the latter laughed.
“He’s done 75% of the way and now he’s going to play hard, which is probably his best surface, so why not? », Commented in early August Rafael Nadal, who would then see his rival overtake him and Federer with 21 titles. For John McEnroe, Djokovic’s supremacy is just a matter of days. The American legend had also predicted his Olympic failure in July. “The matches are the best of three sets, it’s very different. It has less headroom. Someone will surprise him and then that will wake him up for the US Open and he will win everything. Which would be monumental ”.
Djokovic is fully aware of this. “It would obviously be the greatest achievement of my entire career,” he concludes. I know I’m on the verge of making a dream come true, that I’m facing a historic opportunity, and I’m aware that I’m going to have to deal with all the pressure and expectations that will surround my games. “