Serbian Novak Djokovic admits that “history is hovering around me” before his confrontation (Sunday) with Norwegian Casper Rudd in the French “Roland Garros” final, the second of the four Grand Slams, looking to unilaterally win his twenty-third grand title.
The 36-year-old can change the scene of the game when he plays his seventh final at Roland Garros.
In addition to breaking up the partnership with Spain’s Rafael Nadal and winning his twenty-third title in major tournaments, the son of Belgrade can become the oldest crowned at Roland Garros, and the only man to win the four major championships at least 3 times.
“The only thing I can say is that I’m very focused,” Djokovic said. History is something that is always swirling around me.
“Djoko” was crowned in “Roland Garros” twice, in 2016 and 2021, and he is the oldest player to play the final in 93 years.
In the event of his victory over Rudd, the Serbian, who is in the 34th Grand Final, can regain the top spot in the world rankings for professional players, instead of the young Spaniard Carlos Alcaras, who fell to him in the semi-finals.
And his coronation on Sunday puts him in the middle of the road to achieving a historic “Grand Slam” in one year, an achievement achieved by Australian Rod Laver twice, in 1962 and 1969, and American Don Badge in 1937.
Djokovic is trying to ease the pressure he succumbed to at the end of 2021 when he lost to Russian Daniil Medvedev at the US Open.
Djokovic, crowned 10 times in Australia, 7 times at Wimbledon, and 3 times at Flushing Meadows, said: “I don’t think about the Grand Slam in one year. I’m just thinking of winning another big title here on Sunday, and I’m very close. I know the feeling.
And the Serbian continued: “Experience is in my favor, but is this enough to win matches? I do not think so. I have to be ready for another long battle, and after the final, if I win, let’s talk about history.
Ruud was runner-up to Nadal in the 2022 final, before losing the “Flushing Meadows” final to Alcaras.
The 24-year-old did not beat Djokovic in 4 matches, and he did not score a set against him.
Just facing Djokovic puts a lot of pressure on the opponent, as Alcaras admitted after facing the Serb for the first time in the major tournaments (Friday), after he was subjected to one muscle strain after another that dispelled his hopes of reaching the final.
Alcaras said: “Novak is a legend in our sport. If someone says that he confronts Novak without tension, he is a liar.
And the player, who suffered an injury that prevented him from the actual confrontation, continued: “Of course, when you are in the semi-finals of a major tournament, you are nervous, but you are even more tense when you meet Novak. that is the true”.
And while he achieved his tenth victory in the last 11 matches, Djokovic was booed after he raised his fist in celebration of the victory against the injured player.
However, he was used to being accused of this sport, and it became a source of inspiration for him, “I don’t care. Not the first time, and probably not the last. I will continue to win.”
Despite Ruud’s mediocre record against Djokovic, he is banking on his clay-court prowess.
Since 2020, he has the most victories with 87 wins, the most final matches (12) resulting in 9 titles.
The world number four is looking to divert all the pressure towards Djokovic. “I will try not to think that I need to win this match. This is a word that should be avoided.
German Alexander Zverev, who fell in three clean sets against Ruud, believes that Djokovic may succumb to pressure, “If I wanted to bet, I would not put a lot of money on Casper. Does he have the chances? Yes, he owns it.
He continued, “But I think Casper has an opportunity. Novak is one of the best players in the world, that’s for sure, but when you’re on the verge of history, things get stressful.
And he concluded: “Do you remember the final of the United States Championship against Medvedev? pressure, you know, we’re human. Novak is human.”