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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Novak Djokovic ‘nonetheless hanging on,’ looking for main titles

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Picture Supply : AP

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic was, understandably, deflated. The hunt to do one thing no man has executed in additional than a half-century took loads out of him, bodily and emotionally.

The No. 1-ranked Djokovic acknowledged as a lot after crying over the past changeover of his 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Daniil Medvedev within the U.S. Open closing.

What the 34-year-old from Serbia was not able to do after coming agonizingly brief — one victory brief — in his try to win all 4 Grand Slam tournaments in a single season was to concede something in the long run.

There’s a new batch of expertise making a push towards the highest of the game, however he’ll press ahead.

Sure, Djokovic had spoken beforehand of giving every part he had in opposition to No. 2 Medvedev on Sunday, of treating it “like it’s the final match of my profession.”

And, sure, Djokovic did come out flat and was outplayed. Not one of the best mixture for Djokovic: He had an off day; Medvedev had an excellent one. So, sure, Djokovic discovered the entire thing disappointing.

After all he did. That is solely pure. To play so effectively and provides a lot, for therefore lengthy, below an intense highlight and burdened by stress, from the skin and from inside, is draining. No man had even gained a yr’s first three main titles, not to mention the total quartet, since Rod Laver in 1969.

“It was loads to deal with,” Djokovic mentioned.

He received 27 of the 28 victories mandatory for a real Grand Slam. He simply could not get the twenty eighth.

“A part of me could be very unhappy,” Djokovic mentioned. “It is a robust one to swallow, this loss, I imply, contemplating every part that was on the road.”

However he’ll play once more, and he’ll resume his work to overhaul rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and break their three-way tie for probably the most main championships earned by a person, 20. Nobody ought to, or would, be shocked if No. 21 for Djokovic arrives just some months from now at subsequent yr’s Australian Open, a event he has gained 9 instances.

Even when the three males he confronted in Grand Slam finals in 2021 are of their 20s — Medvedev, 25, on the Australian Open and U.S. Open; No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 23, on the French Open; No. 7 Matteo Berrettini, 25, at Wimbledon — and there are different, youthful, gamers transferring up the ladder, too, Djokovic isn’t able to step apart.

“The transition was inevitable,” Djokovic mentioned Sunday, earlier than stating: “The older guys are nonetheless hanging on.”

Nicely, he’s, definitely.

Federer, who turned 40 on Aug. 8, and Nadal, 35, each missed the U.S. Open due to season-ending accidents.

It will likely be fascinating to see how Federer’s newest knee operation and Nadal’s power left foot ache have an effect on them transferring ahead.

And will probably be enjoyable to observe whether or not the group a decade or extra their junior, which additionally consists of 2020 U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem, 28, and the person he beat in that closing and Djokovic edged in a five-set semifinal Friday,

Tokyo Olympics champion Alexander Zverev, 24, plus even youthful guys like People Sebastian Korda, 21, and Jenson Brooksby, 20, could make severe strides and win a significant — or majors.

Medvedev talked Sunday evening in regards to the enhance he expects to obtain from profitable a Grand Slam after having been 0-2 in earlier finals — and from doing it in opposition to Djokovic, of all folks, throughout this season, of all seasons.

“For my future profession, figuring out that I beat someone who was 27-0 in a yr in Grand Slams … he was going for big historical past, and figuring out that I managed to cease him,” Medvedev mentioned, “it positively makes it sweeter and brings me confidence for what’s to return.”

As effectively it ought to.

Djokovic already has reserves of such self-belief. He goes into each Grand Slam event visualizing himself with the trophy. That’s unlikely to alter due to one setback.

“I nonetheless need to maintain going, attempt to win extra Slams, play for my nation,” he mentioned. “These are the issues that inspire me probably the most, I feel, at this level.” 

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