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June 15, 2021

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Djokovic eyes calendar Slam

Novak Djokovic has a real shot at becoming the first man in more than 50 years to win all four Grand Slam titles in a calendar year after the Serb added the French Open to his Australian Open title on Sunday, seven-time major winner Mats Wilander said.

The claycourt Grand Slam has been the most difficult major for Djokovic to win, Sunday’s victory only his second at Roland Garros, and he heads to Wimbledon next where he is the two-time defending champion.

The 34-year-old world No. 1 is a force to be reckoned with on hardcourts too, having won a record nine titles in Melbourne and three US Open trophies, making him a favorite to win at Flushing Meadows in September.

Djokovic agreed it was possible he could match the achievement of Rod Laver, the last man to win all four singles titles in 1969, and that he could even complete a ‘Golden Slam’ by adding the Olympic title at the Tokyo Games.

“We are now heading into the season where we would have to put Novak as the favorite to win Wimbledon most probably, favorite at the US Open because of what he does on hardcourts,” Eurosport pundit Wilander said.

“So yes, it’s on and the way he looks — he looks young, he looks so fresh at the end, he looks scary good and motivated.”

Djokovic displayed mental strength and physical fitness on Sunday to come back from two sets down and beat Greek 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas after battling for four hours and 11 minutes, the exact time he took to get past 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal in the semifinals less than 48 hours earlier.

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas jumped up one place to fourth in the latest ATP rankings released yesterday.

The 22-year-old Greek leapfrogged Austrian Dominic Thiem after his efforts in the French capital.

Djokovic, fresh from his 19th Grand Slam win, consolidated his lead atop the rankings. The Serb now stands 1,970 points ahead of Russian Daniil Medvedev, with Nadal in third.

Newly crowned French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova jumped 18 places into the top 15 in the latest WTA rankings released yesterday.

The Czech beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Saturday’s final, the Russian herself gaining 13 places to 19th, while Slovenian semifinalist Tamara Zidansek leapt 38 places to 47th.

Australian Ashleigh Barty remains atop the rankings, less than 1,000 points ahead of Japan’s Naomi Osaka.


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