Record awaits Djokovic against Medvedev at U.S. Open final
Novak Djokovic is well aware of the history he is poised to make in today’s United States (U.S.) Open final, and he is not shying away from it.
After his 4-6 6-2 6-4 4-6 6-2 defeat of Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals on Friday, a win in the final against Daniil Medvedev would make Djokovic the first player, since Rod Laver in 1969, to win all four majors in the same year.
It would also give him a record 21st grand slam title, breaking the mark he shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Two astonishing achievements, neither of which is complete just yet, as Djokovic reminded observers by invoking a famous Kobe Bryant line.
“Job is not done,” Djokovic said. “Excitement is there. Motivation is there, without a doubt. Probably more than ever. But I have one more to go.”
Djokovic did cross one statistical milestone off the list with Friday’s win. He has now reached his 31st grand slam final, equalling Roger Federer’s record.
Since falling to Kei Nishikori in the last four at the 2014 US Open, Djokovic is 17-1 in grand slam semis.
Zverev lauded Djokovic for his mental toughness as the world number one improved to 36-10 in five-set matches, but the top seed said he still has to fight himself to stay in control in high-pressure situations.
“It’s kind of a hurricane, a tornado, of emotions that you’re going through in a sequence of one set or even one point,” Djokovic said. “You are by yourself on the court, so there is no escape.
“You’ve got to find a way. And I think, over the years, I have managed to develop a formula that works for me.
“Tennis is a very beautiful sport but a very demanding sport and you’ve got to have mind and body balanced at all times if you want to compete at the highest level for the biggest trophies.”
Few can match him on that stage and he will attempt to reach even greater heights with a win today.
His opponent, the second-seeded Medvedev, has dropped only one set on the way to the final.
Djokovic beat him in straight sets in January to win the Australian Open and deny the 25-year-old Russian his first grand slam title.
History will be on the line Sunday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and Djokovic is embracing it.
“There’s only one match left. … Let’s do it,’’ he said. “I’m going to put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.’’
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