Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.
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Roger Federer has had his say on Novak Djokovic’s Calendar Grand Slam attempt. The world No 1 fell at the final hurdle with just one more match win standing between him and the US Open title, which would have earned him all four Major titles this season. Djokovic was a heavy favourite to win a record 21st Major and be the first man in 52 years to achieve the Calendar Slam in the absence of Federer and Nadal, and though he fell short, his Swiss rival was still full of praise for the Serb.
Djokovic was tipped to win the US Open, having already won titles at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon so far this year.
In the absence of Federer, Nadal and defending champion Dominic Thiem – all of whom have shut down their seasons to recover from their respective ongoing injuries – the world No 1 was a heavy favourite to lift the title in Flushing Meadows.
In doing so, he would have become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win the Calendar Grand Slam, and would have pulled ahead of his fellow Big Three rivals to set the record for the most Majors won by a male player.
Instead, the Serb stayed tied with Federer and Nadal on 20 Slams each as he lost the final match standing between himself and history, as world No 2 Medvedev dispatched him 6-4 6-4 6-4 to win his maiden Grand Slam title.
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Federer and Nadal have kept quiet on their long-time rival’s performance at the US Open, with Nadal’s former coach and uncle Toni Nadal saying the pair would have breathed a “sigh of relief” in seeing their record was not broken.
Now, Federer has spoken out on Djokovic’s impressive season and complimented his rival after managing to win the first three Majors of the season and coming runner-up at the US Open.
“It was also nice to see [Rod Laver] again now at the US Open in the finals, watching Novak try to equal his Calendar Grand Slam and I think it is possible that it’s gonna happen again,” he told Eurosport, speaking ahead of the upcoming Laver Cup in what will be the first time he will not be playing in the team exhibition event.
“We saw it with Novak, myself and Rafa that we come extremely close but just doing it, you know, I think you need a bit of luck.”
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The world No 9 was confident that someone, likely Djokovic, would have the chance to win the Calendar Grand Slam again soon, even throwing his and Nadal’s names in the mix.
He continued: “You need perseverance, strength, you need everything, and that’s why I think it’s gonna be hard but it’s possible.
We’ll have to ask also Rod Laver what he thought because he was sitting [in the] first row watching Novak play.”
Although the world No 1 was unable to join Rod Laver in the history books, Federer made sure to praise Djokovic for his 2021 season so far.
“But what Novak did this year was, of course, truly exceptional,” he declared.
Ahead of the US Open, Federer announced that he would be undergoing his third knee surgery since the start of 2020 after aggravating his ongoing injury during the grass court season.
He has since given an update on his positive rehab process, saying: “I’m feeling actually really good considering, you know, that things are not as I hoped they would be but recovering well and rehab is going really good I must say.
“I’ve had no setbacks, every day is a better day. I’m feeling strong and excited for what’s to come.”
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