Here we are: Novak Djokovic is seven wins from the Grand Slam. Seven wins from a feat that was only achieved by Don Budge and Rod Laver in the men's field and Margaret Court, Steffi Graff and Maureen Connoly in the women's field.
On the concrete of Flushing Meadows (after a rather prolonged period of rest) the Serbian champion will face in the first round with a qualifier and in the second with the winner of the match between Jan-Lennard Struff and Timo Grieskpoor.
Hypothetical third round with one between David Goffin and Kei Nishikori - on a collision course with Salvatore Caruso at the debut - in the second round (respecting the ranking hierarchies) there could be Alex de Minaur.
In the same segment of the scoreboard also Aslan Karatsev and Gianluca Mager, called parallel to the first round of the Jordan Thompson test. In the fourth of the world number one also Matteo Berrettini, number six on the list, who after Jeremy Chardy could find Stefano Travaglia.
Hypothetical derby also in the third round with Fabio Fognini, initially opposed to Vasek Pospisil and possibly to one between Tennys Sandgren and Ilya Ivashka. Also concentrated in the same portion of the draw are Lorenzo Sonego and Andreas Seppi: a qualifier for the first, Marton Fucsovics for the second.
Djokovic could therefore face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. Fresh from Olympic gold and also from the success in Cincinnati in the 1000s. In the fourth round the potential challenge with Jannik Sinner, on a collision course with Max Purcell in the first round, probably with Marco Cecchinato in the second and presumably with one between Gael Monfils and Steve Johnson in the third.
Djokovic will begin his historic bid for a Calendar Grand Slam
Whenever the 34-year-old comes up against one of his arch rivals, his fans seem to be outnumbered. The Serb has self-admittedly been incredibly grateful for the love and adulation he has received over the years.
Yet, more often than not it is seen that the World No.1 battles both his opponent and the crowd to get over the line. Speaking about the undue hatred thrown upon Novak Djokovic, former British No.1 Annabel Croft had a lot to say.
In a recent interview with Tennis365, Annabel Croft gave her view on the lack of respect for the 20-time major winning Serbian. The analyst said, “It has been painful to watch at times and I remember being at the US Open 2015 when Novak was playing Federer and the entire crowd seemed to be against him.
There was silence when he hit a winner and cheers when he missed, and the courage he showed to win that match was remarkable. I was court-side and couldn’t believe that there were 20,000 people baying for his blood and hoping he would lose.
It was cruel in many ways,” she admitted. “I really hope he eventually gets the adulation and love that he is deserving of given his achievements in the game”.