‘I put myself in a great place’

Novak Djokovic has historical past in his sights – once more.

The world No 1 got here from two units all the way down to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas within the closing of the French Open and declare his 19th Grand Slam title, placing him one behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal within the all-time standings.

With Wimbledon and the US Open nonetheless to come back this yr, Djokovic has an opportunity to maneuver forward of his two nice rivals within the standings.

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If he have been to win each remaining Grand Slams in 2021 he can be solely the second man within the Open period (after Rod Laver in 1969) to win the calendar slam. There’s additionally the chance to win Olympic gold in Tokyo, which, together with Wimbledon and the US Open, might safe Djokovic the “Golden Slam” – a feat solely Steffi Graf has achieved in a single yr (1988).

Such can be the size of the accomplishment that Djokovic’s coaches Marian Vajda and Goran Ivanisevic have joked that they might give up if he managed to attain it.

However with the French Open now ticked off, it’s a risk.

“Roland Garros is the hardest Grand Slam in historical past,” stated Vajda after Djokovic clinched his second title in Paris.

“At all times powerful as a result of it is clay and it is tiring. It is totally different sport. You must alter to the clay mainly. You must come via a variety of, lot of powerful occasions.

“I used to be nervous somewhat bit extra about clay courtroom, as a result of for interval of very long time, in previous 10 years, for example, he had nice outcomes, and he might have accomplished far more on the French Open, however simply could not make it… To get again on clay after which to win Grand Slam was more durable and more durable yr by yr.”

Djokovic’s solely earlier win in Paris was in 2016 and he had solely reached the ultimate as soon as since then. However with two Grand Slams already received this yr, he’ll begin because the agency favorite in London and New York. He has received the final two editions of Wimbledon – final yr wasn’t performed as a result of Covid-19 pandemic – and has received 3 times on the US Open.

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Nevertheless, the final time he had the possibility to go for the Golden Slam in 2016 it led to disappointment as he was crushed within the third spherical at Wimbledon, first spherical on the Olympics and closing of the US Open.

“Every little thing is feasible,” he stated after profitable the French Open.

“And I did put myself in a great place to go for the Golden Slam. However, , I used to be on this place in 2016 as properly. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon.

“This yr we’ve solely two weeks between the primary spherical of Wimbledon and the finals right here, which isn’t best since you go from actually two fully totally different surfaces, attempting to make that transition as clean as potential, as shortly and effectively as potential. So clearly I’ll take pleasure in this win after which take into consideration Wimbledon in just a few days’ time.

“I haven’t got a difficulty to say that I am going for the title in Wimbledon. In fact, I’m. I used to be actually completely satisfied to know that we’re going to play Wimbledon this yr, contemplating we’ve not performed it final yr. I’ve had an important success within the final couple of Wimbledon seasons that have been performed.

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“I received in ’18 and ’19 there. Hopefully I can maintain that run going. I just like the grass. Over time I feel I improved on grass, I adjusted my sport. Hopefully I can use this confidence that I’ve proper now into Wimbledon, as properly. Then let’s take it from there.”

Whether or not he wins the Golden Slam or not, Djokovic appears to be like extra doubtless than ever to overhaul Federer and Nadal atop the all-time standings. The 34-year-old has been enjoying catch-up all through his profession, with Federer having already received 12 Slams when Djokovic received his first in 2008 and Nadal already having three to his title. Nevertheless, Djokovic says he by no means noticed it as “mission unimaginable” to catch them each.

“I am not there, however it’s one much less. However they’re nonetheless enjoying. Clearly they’re enjoying nice, particularly Rafa together with his stage.

“All of us have nonetheless alternatives at Wimbledon, all the opposite Slams. You might have 4 Slams a yr, so we’re all competing for this wonderful achievement and wonderful trophies. I will carry on going. I will carry on chasing. On the similar time I will carry on paving my very own path, which is my very own genuine path. All of us three of us have our personal journeys, and that is it.”

Vajda says the Golden Slam remains to be “distant” however believes Djokovic is properly “arrange” for the second half of the season.

“Clearly his objective and our objective is to win the Olympics after which win the Grand Slam. That might be the completely prime of this yr. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless distant from us.

“We have now to nonetheless give attention to the subsequent one. However general he is arrange for this yr. His precedence is absolutely arrange like Wimbledon, Olympics, and US Open. I feel that claims all. His schedule is in accordance that we apply and put together for these tournaments.”

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