Novak Djokovic: Embracing the Present, Ignoring Slam Legacy Pressure

Djokovic's US Open Journey: Aiming for Tennis Immortality

by Zain ul Abedin
Novak Djokovic: Embracing the Present, Ignoring Slam Legacy Pressure
© Al Bello/Getty Images Sport

In the high-stakes world of professional tennis, the phrase "taking it one match at a time" has become a well-worn cliché. However, when it comes to Novak Djokovic, the Serbian maestro elevates this sentiment to a profound level as he prepares for his fourth Grand Slam final of the year, set to take place at the US Open this Sunday.

Djokovic, a tennis icon and holder of an astounding 23 men's Grand Slam singles titles, stands on the precipice of history, aiming to equal Margaret Court's legendary record of 24 majors. The significance of this moment is not lost on Djokovic, who vividly recalls the weight of history pressing down on him in the not-so-distant past.

Two years ago, under the bright lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium, he was tantalizingly close to achieving what no man had done since Rod Laver in 1969: a calendar year Grand Slam. However, Djokovic's dreams were dashed as he fell in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev, the same opponent he might encounter in this year's final.

Djokovic's Approach to Historic Final

In his 36th major final, Djokovic is keenly aware of the magnitude of the moment. "Every time in a Grand Slam final, it's another shot for history," he acknowledges, "I'm aware of it, and of course, I'm very proud of it." Yet, he is resolute in not allowing himself to become consumed by the weight of this historic opportunity, as he has experienced the perils of such introspection in the past.

He reflects on past finals, saying, "I was maybe overwhelmed with the occasion and the opportunity, and I underperformed. So, I don't want this to happen again, and I'll try to, you know, just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match." For Djokovic, this year marks the third occasion in his illustrious career when he has reached the finals of all four major tournaments in a single season.

His semifinal victory over Ben Shelton marked his 22nd win in his past 23 major semifinals, a testament to his unparalleled consistency and dominance in the sport. As he looks ahead to the US Open final, Djokovic remains humble yet determined.

"Playing in all four finals of all four slams in a season is amazing," he declares, "It's the highest achievement I can think about when I start the season." With another match left to play, he understands that the conversation could become even more remarkable if he clinches the title.

Regardless of the outcome, Djokovic is already immensely proud of his Grand Slam achievements this year, and tennis enthusiasts around the world eagerly await Sunday's showdown, which could etch Djokovic's name further into the annals of tennis history.

Novak Djokovic Us Open