Novak Djokovic explains why he felt relieved after US Open final loss

US Open: Djokovic shows frustration against Medvedev

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Novak Djokovic has opened up on missing out on the Calendar Grand Slam, and admitted the quest came with “tremendous pressure”. Having won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, the world No 1 needed the US Open title to become the first man in 52 years to win all four Major titles in a single year. However, he fell at the final hurdle as he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the final, and was away from the match court for almost two months following the crushing loss.

Djokovic was the heavy favourite to lift the title in New York.

As well as winning the first three Majors of the year, he was the only member of the Big Three competing at the US Open after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both shut their seasons down ahead of the tournament, suffering with their own respective injuries.

He made it all the way to the final to face second seed Daniil Medvedev, who he defeated easily in the Australian Open final at the start of the year, and was the favourite to defeat the 25-year-old once again over five sets.

However, the 20-time Grand Slam champion ended up looking a shadow of his usual self and was flat on court as his opponent produced some big serves and controlled the longer rallies.

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It was Medvedev who was victorious in the pair’s second meeting in a Grand Slam final in 2021, as the world No 2 blew Djokovic off the court with a convincing 6-4 6-4 6-4 win.

Following the devastating loss, the Serb could be seen in tears on the court as he battled the emotions of losing with his delight at experiencing a warm crowd, who cheered him on and pushed him until the final point.

He then took almost two months out from competition and returned to the match court at last week’s Rolex Paris Masters, getting revenge over Medvedev by coming from a set down to beat him in the final.

Following his title win in Bercy, Djokovic opened up on the burden of going for the Calendar Grand Slam, and admitted he was relieved after losing the final.

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“I already closed that chapter,” he said, speaking of his attempt at winning all four Majors in a single year.

“I’m not regretting it really. I’m not spending days suffering because I didn’t take the Calendar Slam this year.”

Djokovic was able to clinch two records in Paris by securing the year-end No 1 spot for a seventh time, having previously shared the record of six seasons with Pete Sampras, and by winning a record 37th Masters 1000 title, having previously been tied with Nadal on 36.

Having made a winning return to the ATP Tour, he said he was happy to be done with the Grand Slam season and shift his focus back to tour events.

He added: “I’m very relieved the Grand Slam season was done, because I felt a tremendous pressure unlike anything I felt in my life.”

The Serb, who wrapped up his final goal of the season in the semi-final by securing a record seventh finish as year-end No 1 following his three-set victory over Hubert Hurkacz, also opened up on how a lack of pressure helped him in the final against Medvedev, as he didn’t need to worry about securing the top spot of the rankings for the end of 2021 anymore.

“I felt good on court coming into the match,” Djokovic said.

“More relaxed because I didn’t have pressure that I need to win because of rankings or anything like that.

“Felt like I could play the style of tennis I really want to play every single match, come into the net, be a bit freer on the shots.”
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