'Novak Djokovic had no legs when he played that final', says former star

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'Novak Djokovic had no legs when he played that final', says former star

Novak Djokovic has reached only one victory since completing the Grand Slam, a feat that in the Open Era had only succeeded in the legendary Rod Laver back in 1969. After winning the first three majors of the season, the number 1 in the world has reached the final even at the US Open troubling more than expected.

Just one step from the finish line, physical and mental fatigue blocked the Serbian phenomenon, who surrendered sharply to an unleashed Daniil Medvedev at Arthur Ashe Stadium. In the event of a triumph in New York, the 34-year-old from Belgrade would also have overtaken eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to rise to 21 Slams.

A huge disappointment for Nole, who could decide not to return to the field in 2021. Djokovic is registered in the Indian Wells Masters 1000 and has already qualified for the ATP Finals in Turin, but it is not excluded that he chooses to extend his rest and to re-enter the tour directly at the Australian Open 2022.

In a conversation about Tennis Majors, former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli analyzed Novak's collapse in detail.

Bartoli on Novak Djokovic

“It was quite obvious, Bartoli said while speaking on Match Point for Tennis Majors.

“It was just the pressure. It was the same for Serena when she tried it, obviously it was one match earlier [at the 2015 US Open], when she lost in the semifinal to Roberto Vinci and no one expected that result."

The Serb admitted after the match that he could not summon the energy he needed to go toe-to-toe against a player like Medvedev. According to Bartoli, Novak Djokovic simply ran out of steam. "But for Novak, you can tell, and he said it himself, that he had no legs when he played that final," Bartoli added.

"It was just not the Novak Djokovic that we’re used to seeing. … as much as he’s a superhuman, at some point it was too much, even for him”. Bartoli was then asked if she thought Djokovic could achieve the Calendar Slam in the future.

“I think the Calendar Year Grand Slam will be very difficult but I think Novak will get to 23,” she said. Legends are not made overnight. It takes years of discipline, determination, passion, and strength to become the master of something.

Naturally, the same applies to sports, especially tennis, where individuals aim to perform at their best week after week. The current World No.1 Novak Djokovic is a living example of this theory.