'Having a player of Rafael Nadal's calibre here is pretty...', says ATP ace



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'Having a player of Rafael Nadal's calibre here is pretty...', says ATP ace

The US Open 2021 will have an even more particular flavor than usual, not only because the New York Slam will once again host 100% of the public. In fact, Novak Djokovic has the chance to achieve the Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows, a feat that would allow him to match Rod Laver's historic ride in 1969.

The world number 1 failed to win the gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo, but it's safe to bet that he won't want to miss yet another appointment with history. A possible triumph in the Big Apple would also allow him to put his 21st Major on the board, thus bypassing the eternal rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The Swiss will turn 40 in a few days and apparently on the avenue of sunset, while the Spaniard needs frequent stops to avoid injuries. Among the Next Gen, Alexander Zverev - fresh from triumph at the Tokyo Games - seems to be the biggest suspect to block Nole's way.

Also worth keeping an eye on are Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev, finalist at the US Open two years ago. Shortly before his Washington debut, American Frances Tiafoe praised Djokovic's mental strength.

Tiafoe praises Nadal and Djokovic

"The guy's special, man.

He (Novak Djokovic) can play on all surfaces, he's moving so well, his serve has gotten a lot better. Mentally, just the toughest in the world. Not necessarily he has the best forehand, backhand or whatever, just mentally he's so, so good," Frances Tiafoe told the ATP Tour.

The American then claimed he would like to be the one to end the Serb's dominance. "As you raise your level, he's going to keep raising it, keep raising it, really make you beat him. He goes to a place that people just don't quite want to go to it seems like.

He's always got an answer for you. He's on the brink of achieving something crazy special," Tiafoe said. "As much as I love seeing greatness, I'd like it to stop, someone else win, preferably me. We'll see how it goes in the end," he added.

During the conversation, Frances Tiafoe also spoke about what it meant to have 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal participating in the Citi Open. "It's just unbelievable that he (Rafael Nadal) came here to D.C," Tiafoe said.

"Having a player of his calibre here is pretty legendary. This tournament's big. For guys around the area, to see pro players, this is the real thing."