NEW YORK (Reuters): Novak Djokovic could claim a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title at Sunday’s U.S. Open final but will put that landmark out of his mind as he prepares to face old foe Daniil Medvedev.
The Serb battled past American Ben Shelton in straight sets on Friday to set up a rematch with Russia’s Medvedev, who denied him a rare calendar Grand Slam two years ago.
The memory of that bitter defeat was still fresh in his mind, as Djokovic told reporters he was trying not to focus on the significance of a 24th major title that would match Margaret Court’s all-time singles record.
“(I don’t) think about the history too much in this sense, you know, because when I did that in the past, like, ’21 finals here I was maybe overwhelmed with the occasion and the opportunity and I underperformed,” said Djokovic.
“So I don’t want this to happen again, and I’ll try to, you know, just focus on what needs to be done and tactically prepare myself for that match.”
Djokovic won the Australian Open and hoisted the trophy at Roland Garros already this year. He had a chance to collect his 24th major title in Wimbledon but was denied in the finale by Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz.
Fans had hoped that Djokovic would meet the young Spaniard again in New York. But the defending champion came up short against Medvedev in their respective semi-final.
“I was very close to (making) the 24 in London, but, you know, lost to a better player,” said Djokovic, who will take the top spot in the world rankings when they update after the tournament.
“Every time in a Grand Slam final it’s another shot for history, you know, and I’m aware of it, and of course I’m very proud of it. But… I don’t have much time nor do I allow myself to reflect on these things.”