World No.1 Novak Djokovic is a top contender to win the title at US Open 2021. If Serb wins the championship in New York this year, he will surpass his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in Grand Slam records and ultimately become the first man to complete the Calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
Top seed Djokovic begins the US Open 2021 campaign against a qualifier and could face World No.8 Matteo Berrettini in the quarter of his draw. However, he revealed in the pre-tournament press conference that he feels inspired and motivated to complete the Calendar Slam in Flushing Meadows.
“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 in the press conference in New York.
“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 further expressed, “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.”
“Pressure Is A Privilege”, says Novak Djokovic Ahead of US Open 2021
Serbian continued, “You still have tremendous quality tennis players that are right now on hot streaks, like Zverev, Medvedev (and) 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.”
“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.”
“There is a slight difference in terms of what’s at stake and the feeling towards that, but I don’t give it too big of a sign on a daily basis because I’m trying to be in the present moment.”
“I’m very inspired to play my best tennis here. I don’t want to say it’s now or never for me because I think I’m going to have more opportunities in my life to win Slams. I don’t know if I’m going to be having more opportunities to win Calendar Slams,” Novak Djokovic added.
“That’s why it’s a very unique opportunity. At the same time, I don’t need to put any additional pressure on what I already have, which is pretty big from my own self and from, of course, the people around me.”
“But I thrive under pressure, as well. I’ve done that many times in my career. Pressure is a privilege.”
“It truly is. This is what you work for day-in, day-out, all your life, to put yourself in a unique position to win Grand Slams and to make history.”
“At the end of the day, I’m a big tennis fan, (a) fan of history. I admire this sport. I love it. I have this chance, and I’m going to try to use it.”
The US Open 2021 runs from 30th August to 12th September in New York City.