Pressure, no pressure: Could Novak Djokovic ace the Big Apple Slam?

     “I do have regret for not winning a medal for my country…I didn’t deliver yesterday and today, the level of tennis dropped…” ATP’s no. 1 Novak Djokovic commented disgustingly after not winning an Olympic medal in Tokyo. But his level has been quite consistent through this turbulent season and fulfilling a successful slam ending might have a few twists and turns.

     At 34, Novak Djokovic has had tons of ups and downs throughout his career and has never let up despite the Pandemic, possibly cutting his chances for success. He devoured Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in three straight sets at the Australian Open. He did the same in the semi-final to Aslam Karatsev whom he may meet in round 4 of this U.S. Open. In the Monte Carlo Masters, he bowed to Brit’s Dan Evans but the English guy will not be anywhere near the Serb at this Open’s draw. Djokovic hasn’t been in an Open final since 2018 where he defeated Juan Martin del Potro so the goals are realistic for the Serb. He has captured this year 4 titles: Australian & Belgrade Open, the French Open and Wimbledon. Could he accomplish ‘The Grand Slam’ of getting 4 slam titles this season? Obstacles may exist for Djokovic but sticking to his game plan will be the sure option to take.

     “I played under medications and abnormal pain and exhaustion,” Novak admitted after the Tokyo Olympics. He has had a great number of injuries with the last being a shoulder ailment pushing his withdrawal from the Olympic games mixed doubles. It was an abdominal injury the first part of the year at the Australian Open. The warm-up events leading to the U.S. Open may be crucial in preparation for his performance, most of which he gave it a miss. Right now it’s difficult to even see the odds of winning and situations that make things go well for a guy who hasn’t always been the crowd favorite.

     The pressure Djokovic may have is just staying healthy and uninjured being that he also had the COVID some time ago.  When it involves getting on the court, he hasn’t a handle on who his opponents will be. Most are younger without the career title mileage that the Serb has on his racquet. They are hungry to get that first title or another trophy in their resume and their desires are high.

     Novak Djokovic has said that it’s difficult to keep “the same quality of tennis throughout.” He believes in reaching the 2021 U.S. Open is that: “Everything is possible…age is just a number…I always believed that I could play my best tennis in grand slams and give myself a chance to win any slam on any surface. I know what I’m capable of…it’s fortunate for me that it’s all coming together in the same year…”