The rising Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor knew what was at stake when he played Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round of the US Open. Griekspoor ended up surprising Struff in five sets to reach the second round of the US Open, where No.1 Novak Djokovic was waiting for him.
Griekspoor, who now enjoys the highest ranking of his career at world No. 89, had no chance against Djokovic when the Serbian won 6-2, 6-3, 6-2. "First of all, the victory I got against Jan-Lennard Struff [in the first round] was already big.
It was 7-5 in the fifth and I was two sets to one down. I was struggling a bit," Griekspoor told the ATP Tour. "You win the game and you shake his hand and you realize you're playing Novak two days later. In the end, it was an evening session at Ashe and it was amazing.
But it wasn't much fun. He was literally kicking my ass. He couldn't play tennis at all. He showed me why he is one of the best of all time. You feel like you can't get a point. You think that if you go forehand along the line it might work, but the next thing you know is that you are running towards your backhand," Griekspoor explained.
Griekspoor didn't beat Djokovic, but he still saw it as a victory for him. "But it was a great victory for me to be there. And all the hard work over the past few years on the Challenger Tour and the ITF gave me this reward for facing one of the best players in Ashe."
Donald Dell opens up on Djokovic
Donald Dell, co-founder of the ATP, believes Novak Djokovic's motives behind launching the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) should not be questioned. According to Dell, Djokovic is interested in protecting the interests of his peers and is not chasing financial rewards.
"He doesn’t need the distraction, either," Dell went on. "No one would have blamed him had he stepped aside and let Pospisil do the heavy lifting as he pursued one of the most hallowed feats in tennis, something that hasn’t been matched in more than half a century, a sweep of the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S.
Open." Donald Dell, on his part, believes Djokovic can take the PTPA to a new level if he can secure the backing of the Next Gen. "Today the PTPA claims a membership in the “hundreds,” though neither Federer nor Nadal are apparently among them," Dell wrote.
"If Djokovic can convince the next generation of champions—Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, et al.—to join the cause, he might be onto something. More important, the PTPA must include the women’s tour in their plans, too, something they stumbled on from the onset," the American added.
"After all, the WTA boasts some of the most exciting and most popular athletes in the world (see Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and fast-rising teens like Coco Gauff, Leylah Fernandez and Emma Raducanu)."