Tennis: Djokovic thanks fans after breaking record
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Novak Djokovic has admitted that thinking about the calendar Grand Slam has become a “burden”. The world No 1 can rewrite history at the US Open by becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four Majors in the same year. Following his quarter-final win over Matteo Berrettini, the Serb admitted that he doesn’t want to answer questions about the achievement anymore.
Djokovic is the man to beat at this year’s US Open, having already picked up titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
The Serb is now just two victories away from surpassing Federer and Nadal to win a record 21st Major title and becoming the first male player in 52 years to achieve the Calendar Grand Slam, as he prepares to face his Olympic conqueror Alexander Zverev in Friday’s (September 10) semi-final.
The possibility of Djokovic winning all four Majors in a single season has been the talk of the tennis world since he lifted his second Roland Garros trophy back in June, with the French Open notoriously being his most difficult and one he considers his own personal “Mount Everest”.
Despite the hype around the 34-year-old’s potential upcoming achievement, he has admitted he’s “had enough” of talk about the calendar Slam as he closes in on the US Open title.
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The top seed was asked about the milestone he could reach during his on-court interview following his quarter-final win, but said he preferred to focus on his upcoming clash with world No 4 Zverev.
“I’ve been getting that question quite a lot recently, which is understandable,” Djokovic then said in his post-match press conference, asked about the Calendar Slam once again.
“But I had enough of answering that. I just said millions of times that of course I’m aware of the history, of course it gives me motivation.
“If I start to think about it too much, it burdens me mentally. I want to really go back to the basics and what really works for me mentally.”
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The 20-time Grand Slam champion touched on his on-court interview, explaining why he stopped Patrick McEnroe from asking him about the record he could achieve.
Djokovic continued: “Again, I’m in a position that is very unique. “I’m very grateful for that. I’m inspired to play my best tennis.
“But I know what works for me to win just the next match. So that’s the reason why I stopped Patrick. I hope he doesn’t mind. I know that a lot of people want to hear me talking about it. But let’s talk about it hopefully on Sunday.”
His next test comes in the form of 24-year-old Zverev, who recently halted the Serb’s chances of winning the Golden Slam by coming from a set-and-a-break down to win their Olympic semi-final.
Although the German has already managed to stop Djokovic from achieving one milestone, the world No 1 is looking forward to facing Zverev, who he thinks is currently one of the “best players”.
“He’s in tremendous form, he’s been winning a lot. After Wimbledon I don’t think he’s lost a match,” the three-time US Open champion said.
“Winning gold in the Olympics, winning in Cincinnati pretty comfortably, he moved into the semi-finals here… We played a month ago in Tokyo. I was a set and a break up and he managed to turn that around.
“[It’s the] semi-finals of a Grand Slam right now, he’s one of the best players in the world and I’m pumped. The bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it.”
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