PARIS (Dispatches) - Top-ranked Novak Djokovic says winning the U.S. Open to finish a calendar-year Grand Slam would be the greatest feat of his career.
The 34-year-old Serbian has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, matching Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the men’s all-time record entering the New York hardcourt fortnight that begins Monday.
Not since Rod Laver in 1969 has any man swept the four major singles titles in one year.
“It’s an easy question. Yes, it would be,” Djokovic said when asked if the calendar Slam would be his greatest achievement.
“I know how big of an opportunity is in front of me here in New York, where historically I’ve played really well over the years. It’s probably the most entertaining tennis court that we have. Crowd will be back on stadium.
“I can’t wait. Honestly I’m very motivated to play my best tennis.”
Djokovic called the 2021 Slam sweep possibility a “guiding star” as he chases a fourth U.S. Open crown after 2011, 2015 and 2018.
“I’m hugely inspired and motivated by that, no doubt,” Djokovic said. “But at the same time I know how to balance things out mentally, with lots of expectations obviously around.”
Nadal and Federer will not play in New York due to injuries, leaving Djokovic to feel the spotlight without his “Big Three” rivals but with three young rising star rivals in Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Olympic champion Alexander Zverev.