Match Points: “Every time Djokovic has played for history he has succeeded.”
In the latest episode of Match Points, our panel discusses Novak Djokovic’s the odds of Novak Djokovic completing the calendar year Grand Slam at this year’s US Open.
In the latest episode of Match Points, our guests Marion Bartoli, Carole Bouchard and Simon Cambers spoke about Novak Djokovic, and his ability to re-mobilize after his failure at the Olympics in order to win his 21st Grand Slam title at the US Open and thus make the calendar Grand Slam, a feat that has not been achieved since Rod Laver in 1969. Carole Bouchard, former reporter for the newspaper L’Equipe and journalist specializing in tennis for French and international media, believes that fatigue will not be a factor for the world No 1 in New York.
“If he’s not injured, he has a month to re-mobilize. I think it’s more mentally. Did he put too many emotions into winning Roland Garros, Wimbledon and, not failing, but not getting a medal in Tokyo? I think the question is more mental. Did he put in too much effort? But what I do know is that every time Djokovic played to make history, he did.”
Djokovic lost in the Olympic semi-finals to Alexander Zverev and then again on the next day to Pablo Carreño Busta in the bronze medal match. Physically and mentally exhausted, the world number one then withdrew from the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati. He will therefore arrive at the US Open without having played a preparation tournament.
Djokovic pulled too much on the rope
The Serb had only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and only 13 days between his final in London and it his first match at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. According to Simon Cambers, Novak Djokovic pulled on the rope a bit too much and may not be 100 percent fresh in New York.
“I think there is a risk that Novak Djokovic has exhausted himself a little too much. It has been an incredible year for him: he won three Grand Slam tournaments and tried to win gold at the Olympics. A lot of people weren’t sure, he wasn’t even sure he was going to the Olympics. He gave everything, he played in mixed doubles too. He really put all of his energy on the table.
“He finished completely exhausted, which is very unusual for Novak Djokovic. I would never say he’s not going to win the US Open because, of course, he can. He has done this before. He’s the best player in the world. But I think there are enough question marks about him, maybe more at the US Open than at Wimbledon.”
Djokovic has more leeway to succeed, thanks to five-set Grand Slam format
For the first time since 1969, a player won the first three Grand Slam tournaments in the same year. In the best of five sets, Novak Djokovic is even more untouchable than anywhere else, which is why Marion Bartoli has no doubts that the Serbian will lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows.
“I would not understand if we do not place him as a big favourite. For me he is the big favourite. It’s a little easier. He has a day off between each match, he has time to think about each victory, he has time to rest before the next game. I think the Grand Slams are definitely playing in favour of Novak Djokovic. He will try to win a 21st Grand Slam title and be the first to reach this level. I think his motivation will be at its peak and he has the game to win on hard, he has proven it time and time again. To be honest, I can’t see him failing to win the US Open. “