Novak Djokovic admits US Open final could be his last ahead of Medvedev clash

Novak Djokovic on course for 24th grand slam

Novak Djokovic has admitted that Sunday’s US Open final could be his last as he prepares to do battle against Daniil Medvedev. With victory the 36-year-old would surpass Serena Williams to hold the most major singles titles in the Open Era.

Djokovic has been in stellar form this season winning the Australian and French Open crowns before being beaten in the Wimbledon final. Long-term rival Roger Federer was forced into retirement last year after struggling to recover from a knee injury.

Fellow rival Rafael Nadal has not played competitively since the 37-year-old suffered a hip injury during the Australian Open in January and his return date is unclear. He intends to walk away from tennis in 2024. With both of his career-long rivals now absent Djokovic, 36 himself, is aware that retirement could be just around the corner.

He beat American Ben Shelton in Friday’s semi-final 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 to set up a final clash against Medvedev. Afterwards the Serbian said: “Well, the fact is that at 36, every Grand Slam final, yeah, I don’t know, could be the last one.

“So I think that I probably value these occasions and opportunities to win another Slam as more than I have maybe 10 years ago, because 10 years ago I felt like, hey, I still have quite a few years ahead of me.

“I don’t know how many I have ahead of me now, or I don’t know how many of the years where I play four Slams in the whole season do I have in front of me. So of course I am aware of the occasion. But I try to approach Sunday’s match as basically any other match with the intention to win, and I’ll play my opponent.

“Knowing that it’s going to be the toughest challenge, without a doubt, not just because it’s a final but also because I’m playing — you know, the two guys that the last time I faced both of them in a Grand Slam finals I lost; Carlos Wimbledon and then Daniil here in ’21 US Open final.

“So I understand the importance of that, and of course they are both in great shape. I think I’m in very good shape too, so I like my chances.” Medvedev beat Djokovic to win his only Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows two years ago. The Russian stunned Wimbledon winner Carlos Alcaraz 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in their semi-final on Friday, to deny the Spaniard a chance of defending his title.

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“I said I needed to play 11 out of 10, said Medvedev after beating the current world No 1. “I played 12 out of 10 except the third set! That’s the only way. I don’t know if he still 20 or 21 but two Grand Slams already.

“World number one for many weeks. It’s pretty unbelievable, I think nobody has done it before him. To beat him, you need to be better than yourself. I managed to do it.” 

Despite accepting that each major final could be his last Djokovic says that he isn’t considering retirement yet. He added: “I don’t want to even consider leaving tennis or thinking about an end if I’m still at the top of the game.

“I will probably consider doing that if I get my a** kicked by young guys in Grand Slams in the years to come.”

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