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2 hours ago, The Natural said:

Matteo Berrettini takes the first set vs. Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon Men's Singles Final, he was 5-2 down!

Joker won the next 3 to capture his 6th title. This sets him up to win a Grand Slam in several weeks at the US Open. And maybe a gold medal. He's got a shot to match Steffi winning a calendar Golden Slam. 

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I'm not a Djokovic fan (and honestly, this era of Djokovic/Nadal/and now to a lesser extent Federer winning everything in sight has gone on far too long), but he's absolutely head and shoulders above anyone else in the sport right now. The only thing that's going to stop him is an injury.

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1 minute ago, Death From Above said:

I'm not a Djokovic fan (and honestly, this era of Djokovic/Nadal/and now to a lesser extent Federer winning everything in sight has gone on far too long), but he's absolutely head and shoulders above anyone else in the sport right now. The only thing that's going to stop him is an injury.

Or Covid, given he is an anti Vaxxer. 

(Unless the WTA is making players get vaccinated) 

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  • 1 month later...

_120310384_djokovic_split.png

When Novak Djokovic won the 2016 French Open, and became the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slams simultaneously, he danced to the Gypsy Kings near the Arc de Triomphe.

His attempt to win all four Grand Slams in the same year was ended by Sam Querrey at Wimbledon a few weeks later.

Five years on, the world number one has another chance. An even better chance, having already won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon in 2021.

If the 34-year-old Serb can add the US Open, which starts in New York on Monday, he will be the first man since Laver in 1969 to complete a clean sweep of the Grand Slam singles titles.

It would be the greatest achievement of his career, and arguably the greatest achievement in the history of men's tennis.

"I can't wait. Honestly, I'm very motivated to play my best tennis," Djokovic said, before Tuesday's first-round match with Danish qualifier Holger Rune.

"I have to hit one ball at a time, as they say - have a guiding star. I don't need to put any additional pressure to what I already have, which is pretty big from my own self and from people around me.

"But I thrive under pressure, as well. I've done that many times in my career. I'm a big tennis fan, fan of history. I have this chance, and I'm going to try to use it."

_120310380_slams.jpg

Djokovic's year started with a ninth Australian Open title in Melbourne, despite a stomach muscle injury which he thought might end his tournament.

But his most significant week of the Grand Slam year, thus far, came at Roland Garros in early June.

On the second Monday, he recovered from two sets down to beat Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round.

On the Wednesday, Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini in four sets after a 15-minute wait at 23:00 BST as Court Philippe Chatrier was cleared of spectators to meet a Covid curfew.

On the Friday, despite being 5-0 down in the first set, he condemned Rafael Nadal to only his third ever defeat at Roland Garros. It was one of the most brutal clay-court matches of recent times, and yet on the Sunday Djokovic was able to recover again from two sets down as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a second title in Paris.

With the French Open pushed back seven days, there were only two weeks before Wimbledon. Djokovic won there, too, dropping only two sets to join Laver, Nadal, Roger Federer and Bjorn Borg as the only men in the Open era to win both tournaments in the same year.

And so to New York, where Steffi Graf completed the calendar Grand Slam in 1988, but Serena Williams fell two wins short in 2015.

Williams lost in the semi-finals to world number 43 Roberta Vinci, who was competing in her first Grand Slam singles semi-final. The American insisted she felt no pressure, but it would have been impossible not to, given the attention and excitement generated by her quest in New York that year.

Laver's triumph came 19 years before Graf's. The Australian recalls staying in the apartment of his good friend, actor Charlton Heston, that fortnight.

"I knew that I was heading for the Grand Slam, so if I could win this particular tournament then I'm sort of set in gold - and that was a nice feeling," Laver told BBC Sport.

"I didn't try to explain it to anyone that I was going for the Grand Slam - that just puts more pressure on you. I kept it to myself. I was ready for it. I was fit, I had practised hard."

The 24-hour news cycle makes such serenity impossible these days, but Laver thinks Djokovic should try to put the prize out of his mind.

"If he's putting pressure on himself, saying he really wants to win this, then all these things are going to come into play," says the 83-year-old.

"If you get to that level, you start thinking more and more and more. If he wants to win it, I would think the best thing is to get all that behind you, and don't talk about it."

Until his defeat by Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the Olympic event in Tokyo, Djokovic was on course for a Golden Slam: a term coined in 1988 when Graf won all four Grand Slams and a gold medal in Seoul, on tennis' return to Olympic competition.

The Serb spoke afterwards of "abnormal pain and exhaustion" and has not played any tournaments since.

A calendar Grand Slam in the men's game seemed far-fetched when Djokovic, Nadal and Federer were all in their prime. But that should not for one moment devalue the achievement of winning 28 consecutive best-of-five-set matches, on three different surfaces in four different time zones.

As his coach Goran Ivanisevic said at Wimbledon, Djokovic never knows when he is beaten.

"Even when he's not playing the best tennis, he's winning. So imagine when he's playing the best tennis, is impossible to beat him," said 2001 Wimbledon champion Ivanisevic.

"For me, Novak is the best ever. He's writing history. He's going to do it in the US Open. I strongly believe he's going to do it - he's going to win all four in one year. Then I think story's over.

"He's like in the movies. You have to kill the guy 27 times, and still he gets up."

No Novak Djokovic fan but it would be a hell of an achievement.

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The quotes from Laver are weird.  Of course Laver didn't put pressure on himself to the win the Slam in 1969.  He'd already done it once before.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas took the literal piss in his lengthy toilet breaks vs. Sir Andy Murray in the first round of the US Open. Andy narrowly lost to world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets.

Edited by The Natural
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Play suspended because of rain. These are not words you would expect to hear on a court with a roof.

Yet on Louis Armstrong Stadium at the US Open, there were bizarre scenes when the water poured in and fans put up umbrellas as the storm outside found its way in.

The second-round match between Argentine 11th seed Diego Schwartzman and South African Kevin Anderson was interrupted twice before being suspended in the first game of the second set.

"You guys call me when you're ready to play tennis," Anderson said before leaving the court.

Air-blowers had been brought on court and umpires and ball kids tried to dry the surface with towels but despite their best efforts huge gusts of wind continued to blow the rain through the sides of the roof and on to the court.

There were contrasting scenes at the same time on Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Stefanos Tsitsipas and Adrian Mannarino continued to stay dry and play their match under the roof.

The order of play was updated to suggest the encounter between Schwartzman and Anderson would continue on Ashe after that match but that the other match scheduled for Louis Armstrong Stadium - Angelique Kerber against Anhelina Kalinina - would be postponed until Thursday.

The New York area is under a tornado and flooding warning and Wednesday's play at Flushing Meadows had been interrupted on the outdoor courts but few would have expected an indoor match to have been affected in this way.

There was a half-hour delay when the first set was poised at 5-5 and it was then stopped again at 4-4 in the tie-break after both players complained about the slippery surface.

They came back and Schwartzman took the set but play was then called off in the first game of the second set when Anderson was leading 30-15 on his serve.

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Naomi Osaka's US Open title defence is over as she fell in the third round to a stunning performance by Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez.

The 18-year-old Fernandez capitalised as Osaka lost her cool to craft a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 victory.

Osaka was broken as she served for the match in the second set, and a poor tie-break handed Fernandez the initiative under the New York lights.

The teenager could not contain her smile as she secured a fantastic win.

Osaka never regained her composure after she was broken in the second set, twice throwing her racquet to the floor as the tie-break flew away from her.

Fernandez broke her in the opening game of the third set and used her powerful forehand to muscle her way to victory.

Osaka was booed as she made Fernandez wait with the teenager 30-0 up and serving for the match, but the Canadian responded with a drop shot winner to garner three match points. She needed just one, turning and celebrating as Osaka sent a cross-court forehand wide.

Woah.

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz claimed a fifth set tie-break to stun Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a thrilling third-round US Open match.

Alcaraz, 18, twice led Tsitsipas by a set before prevailing 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 7-6 (7-5) to set up his first Grand Slam fourth-round appearance.

Alcaraz became the youngest man to reach the French Open third round since 1992 in June - and the 18-year-old once again demonstrated why he is being tipped for future glory as he shocked the world number three at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Alcaraz twice led Tsitsipas, who reached his first Grand Slam final at Roland Garros earlier this year, by a set and showed maturity well beyond his years as he also recovered from failing to take a game in the fourth.

Roared on by a partisan crowd, the talented Spaniard survived a break point at 3-2 down in the deciding set and showed no sign of tension as he held serve to force the final tie-break.

For 23-year-old Tsitsipas, defeat ends a week during which he faced audible jeers from the crowds during his second-round win against Adrian Mannarino on Wednesday for taking a lengthy mid-match toilet break.

Former champion Andy Murray initially raised the issue during their opening match on Monday - the Briton saying he had "lost respect" for Tsitsipas and accused him of "cheating" by going off court for eight minutes.

Once again on Friday, Tsitsipas received jeers as he headed off court for a bathroom break, though he was gone for less than four minutes. Yet, despite sweeping up the fourth set, he was unable to find a way past Alcaraz.

"I took my toilet break as a normal athlete," said Tsitsipas. "[I] might have taken a bit longer than other athletes. If there was a rule that says there's a specific amount of time that you are allowed to take then I would probably try and follow that protocol, that rule, and stay within the guidelines.

"For me the only thing I did was change from wet clothes to dry clothes. Apparently it's a huge issue.

"I don't know why everyone suddenly is against me, especially when other players don't follow rules and don't stick within 25 seconds between play."

Good riddance.

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Fernandez will face Kerber in the Octofinals. Interesting bracket, with three former US Open Champions (Kerber, Osaka, Stephens) and a finalist (Keyes) of the last five years poised to meet before the QF. 

I'm rooting for my (kinda) hometown girl, but it would be an amazing story for Fernandez. 

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Rooting for Emma Raducanu, she's a Brit who got to the fourth round at Wimbledon, the last 16 as a wildcard going from world number 338 at the start of the tournament to #185. Raducanu is trying to make the last 16 here at the US Open.

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4 hours ago, The Natural said:

Rooting for Emma Raducanu, she's a Brit who got to the fourth round at Wimbledon, the last 16 as a wildcard going from world number 338 at the start of the tournament to #185. Raducanu is trying to make the last 16 here at the US Open.

Emma Raducanu has done it, 6-0 6-1!

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