(September 10, 2021) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – Novak Djokovic stands one win away from making history. The world No. 1 needed five- sets to avenge a loss in the Olympic tournament semifinals, when he beat No. 4 Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach his ninth US Open final. The 34-year-old Serb will be seeking both a record setting 21st major title, as well the grand slam when he faces Russia’s Daniil Medvedev on Sunday. Medvedev beat No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
The last man to win all four majors in the same year was Rod Laver in 1969 and he was in attendance during the semifinals matches on Friday.
“I know we want to talk about history,” Djokovic said. “I know it’s on the line. I’m aware of it. Of course, I’m aware of it.
“But I’m just trying to lock into what I know works for me. I have my routines, I have my people. I isolate myself. I gather all the necessary energy for the next battle, only the next match, the next match.
“I said it on the court. I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But of this year, for sure.
“It’s going to be a battle against another guy who has been in tremendous form, Medvedev. He’s won a lot of matches on hard court so far. We played earlier this year in Australian Open finals. I know what’s expecting me.
“He’s already had couple of Grand Slam finals behind him. I think experience-wise it’s different for him know. I’m sure he’s going to give it all to win it, to win his first slam.
“On the other side, I’ll be giving it all I possibly got in the tank to win this match. I’m focusing on recovery, recalibrating all the systems basically for Sunday. I’m not going to waste time or energy on anything that can just be a distraction and deplete me from the vital energy that I need for Sunday.”
“There is only one match left,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview with ESPN. “I’m gonna put my heart and my soul and my body and my head into that one. I’m going to treat the next match like it is the last match of my career.”
“Well, biggest battle I had so far in the tournament,” Djokovic said in his news conference. “It was expected. I mean, Zverev was in tremendous form. He hasn’t dropped too many sets in this tournament. He was on a roll, winning Olympics, winning Cincinnati.
“I knew that he’s going to be a huge challenge and task to overcome Zverev tonight and to prevail. He started off well. I thought we were quite close. I lost the first set. Again, like most of the other matches that I won during this tournament, when I lost first set, I started to play really, really good tennis in second and third.
“A couple of very long points, exchanges, in the end of the third set. Obviously clinching the third set was a huge relief and advantage. But I just lost the focus a little bit in the fourth. He used it. Once you lose your serve and you’re down a break against Zverev, it’s really tough to come back because he’s serving so precise and so strong. First 10 seconds he had a couple of 130-whatever-miles second serves in important points.
“Yeah, it’s a great win. I’m proud of the fight that I delivered. Yeah, I probably could have played better in some moments. Again, I have to be satisfied with delivering the best tennis I possibly could in the most important set, which was the fifth set.
“Just looking forward to another battle on Sunday.”