2021 could really be the year of consecration for Novak Djokovic, who intends to put an end to the debate related to the greatest ever. The world number 1 won the first three Grand Slams of the season, but failed to put the icing on the cake at the Tokyo Olympics.
The run of the Serbian champion was interrupted in the semifinals against Alexander Zverev, who also benefited from the psycho-physical collapse of his opponent from the middle of the second set. The 34-year-old from Belgrade has about three weeks to recharge his batteries ahead of the US Open, where he will try to complete a historic Grand Slam (the last to do so was Rod Laver back in 1969).
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will hardly be able to hinder him: the Swiss has just given up the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati, while the Spaniard is still sore in his foot despite the two-month stop. Asked by the French newspaper 'L'Equipe', Cédric Pioline says he is convinced that Nole's mental strength makes the difference.
Pioline on the Big 3
"You have the feeling that in the last two or three years, when he was already a great champion, with everything he has accomplished, Novak Djokovic has taken on an extra dimension. But not necessarily in the game itself.
More in what he gives off, a sort of added assurance, something impalpable floating in the air. As if he still needed that ... For me, that's what made him a better tennis player. He might not be playing his best game, but he handles every “movie” of the match very well.
He knows exactly when it counts, when to really tighten the game and take the score to kill his opponent's hope. He is, as previously Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were at certain points in their careers, in a virtuous circle.
The more I earn, the more confidence I gain, the more confidence I gain, the less I panic, the better I manage. Added to this is a phenomenal “experience” capital compared to every young first, like Berrettini or Tsitsipas, who plays his first Grand Slam final against an opponent who has about thirty behind him."
Nina Stojanovic recently took to Instagram to give her thoughts on the Tokyo Olympics and how she felt partnering Novak Djokovic. The Serb's campaign in the Japanese capital started brightly but ended in disappointment as she was denied the chance to compete for a bronze medal after Djokovic withdrew due to injury.
"Then & now only I can know the feelings I dealt with once I had found out I will not have the chance to play the most important match of my career for the Olympic medal," Stojanovic wrote on her Instagram handle.