‘You have to say if Novak Djokovic goes to 21…’, says former ATP star

With the qualifying tournaments started yesterday afternoon, the next edition of the US Open is now ready to give a great show to all tennis fans. Unfortunately, there will be many absences that will affect the last Grand Slam of the year. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will not take the field at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year. The Swiss champion has not recovered 100% from his knee injury and at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon he has not been able to express himself to the best of his ability. Precisely for this reason, Federer has decided to undergo a new surgery with the hope of returning to the field at the Australian Open 2022. The season has also ended for Nadal, who at his debut in Washington complained of severe discomfort in his left foot; a nuisance that prevented him from competing in the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cininnati and which affected the final choice made by the Majorcan. The injury proved to be more serious than expected and will keep Nadal in the pits for the rest of 2021. Dominic Thiem, who is also struggling with an injury, will not be able to defend the title won last year. The Austrian had one of the most complicated years of his career and had to deal with a problem in his right wrist in Mallorca. Despite these premises, the US Open will be able to capture the attention of the public, because Novak Djokovic will have the opportunity to complete the Grand Slam and become the player with the most majors in history. After the Olympic disappointment, Djokovic did not participate in any ATP event to present himself in the best possible conditions in New York. The Serbian will have a lot of pressure, considering the stakes, and will have to beat competition from the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The first two, in particular, have proven to be close to the definitive leap in quality in recent weeks. The Russian won and dominated the Masters 1000 in Toronto showing all his talent; the German took the gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and took home the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, and will arrive in Flushing Meadows with great confidence.

It’s time for the final Grand Slam event of the season

Former World No. 4 Tim Henman believes Novak Djokovic would leapfrog his rivals in the GOAT race if he wins in New York next month. However, Henman reckons Federer is untouchable when it comes to popularity. “There are two different conversations to be had about the greatest player, the best player, that comes down to a numbers game and Djokovic will win that,” Henman told the Tennis365 website. “If you are talking about impact and popularity, it is a one-horse race and there is no doubt that Federer is the most popular player that has ever played our sport. But you have to say if Novak goes to 21 and Federer and Nadal are on 20, you would have to say Djokovic is leading that debate over who is the greatest, but throw in a Calendar Grand Slam and it would elevate him to a different level. He would then be the best male player of all time.”