From the pits of despair in Paris, record-setting Novak Djokovic now eyes a third US Open title in New York where for the first time since Wimbledon last year, the sport’s ‘Big Four’ will be reunited.
Djokovic becomes the first man to win all nine Masters titles with victory over Roger Federer at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Having captured, against all the odds, the fourth Wimbledon in July, the 31year-old Serb suddenly finds himself as joint-favorite with world number one Rafael Nadal to triumph at Flushing Meadows. Champion in 2011 and 2015 and a five-time runner-up, Djokovic sat out the 2017 US Open to nurse an elbow injury.
His physical limitations were still evident when he slumped away from Roland Garros in June after a shock quarter-final loss to journeyman Marco Cecchinato, threatening to skip Wimbledon to mend his shattered self-confidence. Fast forward three months and Djokovic is once again Djokovic opens his campaign against Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics. Djokovic’s Wimbledon triumph title collection to 13, just one behind Pete Sampras. He will head for New York buoyed by his dominance over his three major rivals as well he leads Nadal 27-25, Federer 24-22 and Andy Murray 25-11.
World number one Nadal, who won the US Open last year to add to his. 2010 and 2013 victories, skipped Cincinnati after triumphing in Toronto the week before. Now 37, Federer won the last of his five US Opens in 2008 and the 20time Grand and the 20-time Grand Slam winner would become the oldest New York pion in the Open era should he lift the trophy again on September 9 and second oldest of all time Murray, the 2012 champion is set to play his first Slam since a hip injury suffered at Wimbledon last year.