Arriving in New York last Saturday, Novak Djokovic is the only player from the top-3 who will compete at Cincinnati and the US Open events in the upcoming three weeks. Traveling to the USA without his family and a small team led by Goran Ivanisevic, Novak will chase the 18th Major title in different circumstances, competing at his first Major without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer as his main rivals.
Unlike other players, Novak has ranted a house, having to follow strict conditions imposed by the U.S.T.A and pay the approved security that should make sure for the Serb to follow all the directions. Novak will compete in both singles and doubles in Cincinnati, trying to shape up his form and get ready for the second Major of the season.
Novak had been working hard on his game in Marbella in Spain, using balls prepared for the US Open. In his last tournament of the season in February, the Serb claimed the title in Dubai, looking for more of the same at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the upcoming weeks.
For the first time, Novak Djokovic will compete at a Major without Federer or Nadal.
Djokovic is yet to lose a match in 2020, leading Serbia towards the ATP Cup title and conquering the eighth Australian Open crown in Melbourne, becoming world no.
1 again ahead of Rafael Nadal. Last year, Djokovic lost both American trophies to Daniil Medvedev and Stan Wawrinka, eager to get back at least one of those and stay on Rafael Nadal's and Roger Federer's trail. In New York, Wawrinka had a 6-4, 7-5, 2-1 lead over Djokovic before the Serb had to retire due to a shoulder injury.
Novak wasn't at his best already at the first practice ahead of the US Open, managing to win three matches before facing a former champion who scored his fourth victory over the Serb at Majors. Speaking about Federer and Nadal, Novak praised the great rivals, saying they will be missed in New York, even without the crowd in the stands.
After their withdrawal, Djokovic felt he had to embrace the New York trip and defend the big 3 honors against the rest of the field. "It is strange because Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the legends of our sport and with or without crowds, they will be missed a lot.
One of the reasons I keep on playing professional tennis at this level is because I want to reach more heights in the tennis world. I cannot say it's the main reason I'm here, but it's one of them. First of all, I have to think about myself, my health and my fitness and whether my team is OK.
Once that was checked, then I also felt responsible as a top player to be here. Our sport needs to keep going," Novak Djokovic said.