Novak Djokovic has quickly shut down any idea he could be looking ahead of his US Open schedule towards a potential showdown with Carlos Alcaraz in the final. Alcaraz may be World No.1 tennis player, but the Spaniard was handed a tough draw on his road to the final.
The Spaniard is projected to face either Jannik Sinner or Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final, before a potential showdown with Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic was handed a statistically more fortunate draw, with a potential clash with either Holger Rune or Casper Ruud in the semi-final.
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Yet, many tennis fans are still expecting, and hoping, an Alcaraz-Djokovic final with the pair playing out an all-time classic at the Cincinnati Open last week. The duo also played an epic Roland Garros semi-final, before their Wimbledon final classic.
However, Djokovic has shown his class and was quick to hit back at suggestions he was already looking ahead to that potential blockbuster showdown. "I think it's also in a way disrespectful to your next opponent if you're already thinking about your finals matchup. Even though I've had tremendous success, maybe you could argue that I could start thinking about later phases and stages in the tournament," Djokovic said.
"But that kind of mindset never really resonated with me." While Djokovic was respectful in his answer, rival Daniil Medvedev also didn't have an issue with the fanfare.
"I think it's great for tennis that we have two guys playing against each other right now," he said in his own press conference. "It doesn't irritate me at all...I think that's normal we talk about them. The goal is, after this US Open, that we talk about me."
Novak Djokovic says it would be disrespectful to his opponent if he’s already thinking about playing possible US Open Final with Carlos Alcaraz:
“I think it's also in a way disrespectful to your next opponent if you're already thinking about your finals matchup. Even though I've… pic.twitter.com/OK3eObNkhL
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) August 27, 2023
Djokovic heads into the US Open in brilliant form having defeated Alcaraz in the final of the Cincinnati Open in one of the most dramatic best-of-three set matches seen in recent history. And Djokovic said Alcaraz is constantly pushing him to play his best tennis, which could be the case at the US Open this year.
“He's always pushing me to the limit. I think I do to him pretty much the same thing. That's why we produced memorable final," he said ahead of the tournament. "It was one of the best, most exciting, and most difficult finals I was ever part of in best-of-three, no doubt, throughout my career.
“That's why I fell on the ground after I won the match because it felt like winning a Grand Slam, to be honest. The amount of exchanges and rallies. It was physically so demanding and gruelling that I felt very exhausted for the next few days.”
Novak Djokovic eyeing World No.1 title
Djokovic only needs to get through his first round match against Alexandre Muller to reclaim the World No.1 ranking. The 23-time grand slam champion isn't defending any points at this year's US Open and is set to put distance between him and Alcaraz.
The Spaniard is the reigning champion and will need to defend 2,000 points. Alcaraz opens his account against Dominik Koepfker in the first round. Top ranked Australian Alex de Minaur will face qualifier Timofey Skatov in the first round.
Australian's Alja Tomjanovic and Daria Saville were both handed tough draws. Tomjanovic has just returned from injury and is set to face Elena Rybakina if she makes it through the first round. Saville is set to face World No.1 Iga Swiatek if she progresses past the first round.
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