Novak Djokovic has already won the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon this year. Should he also triumph at the US Open, he would become the second player in the Open Era to make the 'Calendar Grand Slam' (the only one to succeed in such a feat was Rod Laver back in 1969).
The world number 1 has made perfect use of the last few seasons to mend the gap that separated him from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Lately, the Swiss and Spaniard have often been away from the tour due to injuries, not forgetting the sudden rise of the Next Gen who have claimed their space.
King Roger has had his knee operated on several times in the last year and we will hardly see him again at very high levels. Rafa, for his part, is struggling more and more to find continuity and has closed his season prematurely.
The pain in his foot forced him to raise the white flag at least until the beginning of 2022. During a recent interview for the ATP website, Stan Smith analyzed Djokovic's prospects in the Big Apple.
Stan Smith opens up on Novak Djokovic
It’s going to be hard for Novak Djokovic," Stan Smith told ATPTour.com. "He's a heavy favourite, he's committed to do it. He's not saying, 'Well, maybe…' He's really committed to do it.
Unless he gets hurt, he's the heavy favorite." Stan Smith went on to claim that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had the ability to complete the Calendar Slam too, given that they both won three Majors in a year. "Nadal and Federer are certainly capable and they’ve won three [in a year]," Smith said.
"I am surprised that one of those guys hasn't been in that position." Interestingly, the US Open 2021 management has eased a lot of restrictions that were imposed on both the players and fans last year. In 2020, the organizers made sure that the players stayed in their respective bubbles and didn’t leave their place at any cost.
On the other side, no fans were allowed to watch the match inside the stadiums because of the adverse situation of the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, the US Open 2021 management just put one condition for the fans. Those above the age of 12 will have to show the proof of at least 1 vaccine dose before buying tickets and entering the stadiums.
Children below 12 will not be required to show the proof but will gave to be accompanied by an adult to watch the live action.