09/12/2021 at 6:16 AM CEST
If there ever was a grand finale of US Open that was loaded with historical achievements and ambitions this will be the one they star in tomorrow, Sunday, the serbian Novak Djokovic, the number one in the world, compared to the Russian Daniil Medvedev, second favorite.
Djokovic, 34, aims at nothing less than become the first player to achieve the full cycle of all four Grand Slam titles in a single year, since the legendary Australian Rod Laver He did it for the last time in 1969.
In addition to reaching the 21 Grand Slam titles, the first that could get it and leave the swiss behind Roger Federer and to spanish Rafael Nadal, with whom he now shares the mark of the 20 greatest trophies.
Many of which he has achieved not only because of his class as a tennis player but also because of his mental toughness, of never giving up and coming back in games that for others were already given up for lost.
The last demonstration was given in the previous semi-final match against German Alexander Zverev, fourth favorite, who was able to take the match to the fifth and decisive set and also when he was playing better.
Djokovic’s answer was sweep him in the fifth with a 5-0 run and make the best tennis he had played in the whole game as the number one in the world then acknowledged to journalists at the press conference.
Nothing less than nine Open finals, of the 31 he has reached as a professional to also tie with FedererTo do so for the unprecedented tenth time in a Grand Slam tournament this season, he also prevailed after losing the first set.
It was the fourth time in a row that he did it at this US Open after will eliminate the Japanese Kei Nishikori, the American Jenson Brooksby and the Italian Matteo Berrettini, sixth favorite, successively.
“I’m going to put my heart, my soul, my body and my head into it,” promised Djokovic in his interview after the victory over Zverev in the semifinal. “I’m going to treat that game as if it were the last of my professional career.”
Djokovic made it clear that his reputation for never dying was built over many years, having successfully found a way through the crucial moments in the biggest games over and over again.
It was a timely reminder for Medvedev ahead of Sunday’s showdown.
“Probably all these great games that I won, great titles over the years, they have created that kind of aura around me that the players know there is a spirit of never dying with me, especially when I play Grand Slams,” admitted Djokovic. “They know that until the last blow things can change, as was the case on several occasions throughout my career.”
Djokovic said he was satisfied with the image he transmits towards his rivals.
“Yes, I’m glad my opponents think of me that way. I want them to feel like they are under extreme pressure when he faces them on a big Grand Slams stage, “stressed Djokovic.
All this is already known by Medvedev, 25, from his own experience, and hence his motivation is greater than ever to know that not only can he beat the number one in the world, who aspires to have great historical achievements, but also with his triumph he would get the first champion title in a Grand Slam.
After two runners-up in the grand finals, Medvedev, who is in the second Open final in three years, is more than ever ready to join the club of Grand Slam champions and start building your own legacy on the biggest stage in tennis.
Twice before he has done his best to overcome obstacles in a Grand Slam final: at Flushing Meadows two years ago, when he came close to beating Nadal and at this year’s Australian Open, where Djokovic comfortably had his measure.
In case it breaks Serb’s great winning streak to a victory from a flawless 28-0 in 2021, the historic act of escape would count for little Medvedev compared to personal reward, nothing less than an inaugural Grand Slam trophy.
“I think for my part, of course … if i can do this i’ll probably be in the history books a bit somewhere like not letting him do this. But I really don’t care. I think it’s more about him, that it affects him, “said Medvedev, who is convinced that Djokovic will feel the pressure much more than he does and maybe this time the world number one will not respond as a winner.
Medvedev reiterated that he will also give everything on the field, but not at all thinking that he can take the full cycle of Grand Slam from Djokovic but rather in overcoming once and for all the adversity of not having been able to win a major league title.
If successful, he will become the first Russian to triumph at this level since Marat Safin at the 2005 Australian Open.. He has only lost one set at Flushin Meadows this year, to Dutch qualifier Botic van de Zandschulp in the quarter-finals.
It was a much easier race to his second Open final than two years ago., when only two of their six matches en route to the final came in straight sets.
“I have everything going for me, the experience of previous finals, my good relationship with the public, a lot of energy and the conviction that I can win the game and the best player in the world,” added Medvedev. “Mentally I will also be ready to compete with Djokovic and for sure it will be a match for history.”