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Djokovic does not give up and aspires for more titles

Djokovic does not give up and aspires for more titles

Novak Djokovic was understandably bummed. The possibility of doing something that no other man had accomplished in more than half a century eluded him, an endeavor that drained him physically and emotionally.
It was what the world No. 1 later acknowledged as he was seen crying during the last change of ends in a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 loss to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
What the 34-year-old Serb is unwilling to do, after coming agonizingly close – to a win – in his bid to win his fourth Grand Slam tournament in the same season, is not fighting in the long run.
There is a group of talents that has been knocking on the door to become the best in tennis, but he will continue.
Djokovic had spoken before giving his all against Medvedev, treating Sunday’s final “as if it were the last match of his career.” And yes, Djokovic was lackluster and he was outmatched. It wasn’t the best combination for Djokovic: He had a bad day; Medvedev – No. 2 on the rankings – had a great one. So yes, Djokovic found all of this disappointing.
Of course, it is natural. Playing so well and giving so much for so long under intense floodlight and the pressure from outside and inside is exhausting. No other man had won the first three majors of the year, much less all four, since Rod Laver in 1969.
“It was too much of a burden,” admitted Djokovic.
He took 27 of 28 title poker wins in 2021.
He just couldn’t make the 28th.
“A part of me is extremely sad,” said the Serb. “It is difficult to accept, defeat, considering everything that was at stake.”
But he will play again and will continue to work to overcome the triple draw with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the historic fight for the most titles in the big events won by a man, with 20. It should not be a surprise to anyone who Djokovic’s 21st title comes in a few months at next year’s Australian Open, a tournament he has won nine times.
Even if the three players he faced in the Grand Slam finals in 2021 are in their twenties: Medvedev (25) at the Australian Open and US Open; number three Stefanos Tsitsipas (23) at the French Open; the seventh Matteo Berrettini (25) at Wimbledon; and others who are younger and climbing the ladder. But Djokovic has no intention of letting them pass.
“The transition was inevitable,” Djokovic commented on Sunday before adding: “The old players still haven’t given up.”
Federer, who turned 40 on August 8, and Nadal, 35, did not go to New York due to injuries that brought forward the end of their seasons.
It will be fascinating to see how Federer’s recent knee operation and chronic pain in his left foot affect Nadal’s future.
And it will be fun to see if the group that is a decade younger and that includes 2020 U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem (28 years old) as well as Alexander Zverev (24 years old), whom Djokovic beat on Friday in the semifinal in Five sets, plus winning the Olympics, can go far enough to win a major – or multiple majors.
Medvedev spoke on Sunday about the boost he hopes to receive from winning the Grand Slam after being 0-2 in his first finals – and from achieving it against Djokovic this season.
“For the future of my career, knowing that I defeated someone who was coming off a 27-0 year at Grand Slams … I was going for something historic and knowing that I managed to stop it,” Medvedev warned. “It definitely makes it sweeter and gives me confidence for what’s to come.” (AP)

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