Former two-time Grand slam winner Stan Smith believes Novak Djokovic is a heavy favorite for the US Open. Djokovic has been in classic form in the ongoing season and has already won the three majors of the year. The Serbian is on the cusp of making history as he has a chance of winning the Calendar slam if he goes all the way in the US Open.
Djokovic could become the first player after Rod Laver achieved the illustrious milestone back in 1969. Meanwhile, Djokovic’s quest of winning the Golden slam was ended by Alexander Zverev as the German defeated him in the semifinal match of Tokyo Olympics before the World No.1 lost to Pablo Carreno Busta in the Bronze Medal match.
Smith feels Djokovic has the confidence to turn the tables if things go bad for him. The Serbian was down two sets in the final of the Roland Garros but came back strong to win his 19th slam against Stefanos Tsitsipas and thus held his nerves. Djokovic has all the experience under his belt and his fitness and stamina makes it possible for him to dominate his opponents.
Furthermore, the hard courts are Djokovic’s forte as he can slide on the surface and has great flexibility and reach.
“It’s hard. It’s going to be hard for Djokovic. He’s a heavy favourite, he’s committed to do it. He’s not saying – ‘Well, maybe…’ – he’s really committed to do it. Unless he gets hurt, he’s the heavy favourite,” the American told ATPTour.com.
“[Rafael] Nadal and [Roger] Federer are certainly capable [of winning the Calendar Slam] and they’ve won three [in a year]. I am surprised that one of those guys hasn’t been in that position.
“Hard courts might be Djokovic’s favourite surface, and so someone is going to have to play really well. Having said that, he played a terrible couple of sets at the French [Open], where he just played the first two sets in the final [against Stefanos Tsitsipas] really badly, but came back and played great.
“I don’t know what it was, but he was really bad for him and I thought he was done. The fact that he came back there and played great tennis, it just shows he’s got the confidence that if things go bad, he’s not going to panic. A lot of people do [panic].”
Djokovic will face Denmark’s Holger Rune in the first round of US Open.