Tennis fans are experiencing the decisive rounds of the US Open 2021 with trepidation. Novak Djokovic is ever closer to his appointment with history, having the greedy chance of creating a legendary ‘Calendar Grand Slam’
The number 1 in the world has won the first three Grand Slams of the season and is on the hunt for a historic result, which would lead him to become the second player in the Open Era after Rod Laver to win all the Majors in the same year.
In the event of a triumph in New York, the Serbian phenomenon would overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time ranking for the first time. According to some insiders, the 34-year-old from Belgrade can be considered the GOAT regardless of the outcome of these US Open.
Recall that Nole has already broken the record of weeks at the top of the ATP ranking last March. In his book dedicated to Roger Federer (‘The Master – The Long Run & Beautiful game of Roger Federer’), the well-known New York Times correspondent Christopher Clarey addressed the question of the greatest ever.
Clarey reflects on the GOAT debate
The ‘big 3’ have certainly dominated the sport, both on-court and off it. For over a decade now, fans have defended their legacy with all their might, self-proclaiming their favorite as the greatest player of all time.
Notably, as Roger Federer recently announced his withdrawal from the US Open and the remainder of the 2021 season, the evergreen conversation is back in the spotlight. At 20 Grand Slams each, Christopher opened up on what he thinks is the difference-maker between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
He said, “While it’s hard to compare players from different eras to the current group of players, we can compare players competing now. It is an interesting debate. Does it come down to their performance and achievement on the court or is also about what they have brought to the sport?” Novak Djokovic continued his march towards the Calendar Slam with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tallon Griekspoor in the second round of the 202 US Open on Thursday.
After the match Djokovic appeared in an interview with ESPN’s Chris McKendry, where he explained how he reacts to pressure and why the top players have a “mental advantage” over the others. “Pressure, we all have it, but top guys, especially for me here with pressure on the line,” Djokovic said.
“Pressure is huge but at the same time I thrive on that. I like that because there’s a sign ‘Pressure is a privilege’ — a quote by Billie Jean [King] – and I truly believe and I live by that. So it’s an honor to be in this situation.”