US Open: Novak Djokovic is one grand slam victory on the calendar and the 21st major title

He needed the full five sets to do it, but world number one Serbia beat German number 4 Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in the semifinals. of the US Open. at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Friday.

Djokovic, 34, is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 major singles titles – the most in men’s tennis. He will face Russian and world number 2 Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.

On the pitch after Friday’s win, Djokovic said: “There is only one game left. Let’s go, let’s do it. I’m going to put my heart and soul and body and head in that one. I’m going to treat the next game like it’s the last game of my career. “

The last man to complete the grand slam on the calendar – winning the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year – was Rod Laver in 1969. Laver tweeted a photo of him watching Friday’s semi-final, saying “Great to be back in New York, watching the History Channel.”

Six years ago, Serena Williams attempted to complete a calendar grand slam, which had not been done on the women’s circuit since Steffi Graf in 1988. Graf also won singles gold at the Olympics this year. there, making her the only tennis player. male or female – to complete a so-called gold slam, winning Olympic gold in addition to the four majors.

Williams was then shocked in the US Open semifinals by Roberta Vinci.

In the early hours of Saturday, Djokovic referred to Williams’ race, saying, “I remember I won 2015, I won the US Open that year. I was talking to Serena. She was very moved by everything that was going on. I can understand what is going on. she’s been going through right now. I understand it now. Obviously once you are in this situation you can really understand what a player. “

Djokovic said he understood why Williams wanted to avoid questions about his loss and spoke about the pressure top players feel to keep winning.

“At the end of the day you have to get out on the pitch and deliver. You’re always supposed to win. For a great legend that she is, she always has these expectations of everyone, including herself,” said he declared. “It’s no different with me.”

In his post-match press conference, Zverev said of Djokovic: “If you look at the stats, if you look at the pure action game of tennis, he’s the greatest of all time.

“There’s a reason he’s won 20 Grand Slam tournaments. There’s a reason he’s spent the most weeks at world No.1 … I think mentally he’s the best player to have. never played. Mentally in the most important moments, I prefer to play against anyone other than him. “

Djokovic faces Medvedev on Sunday. The 25-year-old defeated 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in straight sets earlier on Friday, reaching his third Grand Slam final. He only lost one set at this year’s US Open.

This will be Medvedev’s second US Open final, having lost to Nadal in five sets in 2019. He lost the Australian Open final to Djokovic in straight sets earlier this year.

After his semi-final victory, Medvedev said he learned a lot from that game against Djokovic in Melbourne.

“He was playing differently from games he played before me, and I wasn’t ready for that. So now I am,” Medvedev said of Djokovic’s tactics.

Regarding the final, he said: “It’s going to be more interesting in terms of tactics what I’m going to prepare. No matter what the score, I’m just going to turn up the pressure, if I may say so, and try to do my best. , even more than I did in Melbourne. “

At the Tokyo Olympics this summer, Djokovic – who had previously won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon – had the opportunity to aim for the gold slam.

Instead, he left without a medal after losing to Zverev in the semifinals. It was Zverev, last year’s US Open finalist, who took home the gold in the best of three sets format.

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