Tennis: Djokovic thanks fans after breaking record
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Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli believes Novak Djokovic can go onto become the most decorated male tennis player ever by some distance as he bids to make history at the US Open. The Serb is looking to tie up his 21st major overall at Flushing Meadows, and pull clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic is bidding to rewrite history at the US Open in the absence of his biggest rivals, Federer and Nadal.
The Big Three each have a record 20 Grand Slam titles to their name, and a win in Flushing Meadows will make the world No 1 the first man in history to win 21 Majors.
Having already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon so far this year, the title would also secure him the Calendar Grand Slam, making him the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four in the same year.
While all of the pressure is on Djokovic at the US Open, former Wimbledon champion Bartoli believes the Serb will be able to add his name to the record books in New York this month.
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Although she believes it will be tough for Djokovic to battle through the mental side of things, the former world No 7 thinks he has a real chance at making history.
“This year’s US Open is not going to be just an on-court battle for him. It’s going to be a huge mental battle with himself because there is history on the line,” she told PicksWise.
“He can write history by winning this US Open. I remember Serena’s case when she won the first three and was in the semi-finals against Roberta Vinci, who was a player she should beat every day in her life, but she lost because the pressure on her shoulders was just too high.
“If Novak can stick to his routine and block everything out, he will have a real shot. His team will play a huge part in blocking out the extra pressure from everyone else.”
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The retired Frenchwoman also believes that Djokovic, who is famously not as well-loved as Federer and Nadal, will earn the support of the public by overtaking his rivals.
She continued: “He has a different temper and character compared to Roger and Rafa, most of the public identifies themselves with one of those two. So now they have someone else who is the third part of the game and is someone they don’t recognize in themselves.
“Once he gets to the top of the history of the game with the number of slams he’s won, everyone will fall in love with him. It’s just a matter of time.
“By writing history and winning this US Open, the love and appreciation for him will grow.”
Bartoli praised Djokovic and his rivals Federer and Nadal for reaching new heights of the men’s game.
She also made her biggest claim yet, that the 34-year-old would be able to continue adding to his tally if he is able to win a record 21st Grand Slam title, and become the most decorated player in history.
“To win three Grand Slams consecutively is already an incredible achievement.
“To get to 24/25 slams, which I can believe he can do, is not something we dreamed of when Sampras and Agassi retired.
“Roger and Rafa pushed the boundaries and got to 20, and then you have this young Serb chasing them and getting to 20. We are very privileged to witness this live and we won’t get to see this again for quite a while.”
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