Novak Djokovic lived up to expectations in the first two Grand Slams of 2021, perhaps even higher when you consider his incredible triumph at Roland Garros. The world number 1 eliminated clay king Rafael Nadal in the semifinals, before reassembling Stefanos Tsitsipas two sets in the final act.
Almost everyone was surprised by the physical and mental strength of the Serbian champion, who went only one length behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The 34-year-old from Belgrade will have even more pressure at Wimbledon and the US Open as his chances of hitting the 'Calendar Grand Slam' have increased.
Nole will be the main favorite in both London and New York, also given the difficulties of Nadal and the advanced age of Federer. Speaking on the Tennis Channel, well-known American coach Paul Annacone - who has worked with legends of the likes of Sampras and Federer - analyzed Novak's chances of completing a feat never more successful since Rod Laver.
Paul Annacone talks about Novak Djokovic
“What I mean by that is the immense amount of pressure,” Paul Annacone began. “The more Novak Djokovic wins, is more he will know that he wins and more self-imposed pressure he will put on and also more external pressure”.
Furthermore, the American coach added that Djokovic’s unbelievably tough mind would be all the more tested. Yet, he sees no reason due to which the 19 Grand Slam title winner can’t complete the Golden Slam this year.
“But he’s got to stay healthy, and most importantly, the mental component of this game has to be locked up,” Paul explained. “Because if he can get through the next two, the pressure is going to be off the charts,” Paul said.
But he also added that the fewer restrictions and full crowds would indeed make it easier on Djokovic. Even so, Federer‘s former mentor expressed that it would still all depend on how the Belgradian handles his head. “But the immense pressure that is going to in the stratosphere of Novak Djokovic around then, it’ll be fun to see,” the American coach concluded.
The Wimbledon Championships is one event on the tennis calendar that cannot be postponed to a date that is too far from the English Summer. There is a short window during which the event can go ahead, which is why it was canceled last year as the effects of the virus extended beyond that period.
To add to the immense planning that goes behind the grass-court Major, it takes approximately 15 months for the tennis courts to be seeded and cut to perfection. After that, it takes another 13 days to micromanage the hard and dry soil below the surface that helps protect players from sustaining damages.