The US Open, the final tennis Grand Slam of the year, is just around the corner, and the “match of the century” between Novak Djokovic (36, Serbia, World No. 2) and Carlos Alcaraz (20, Spain, World No. 1) is capturing the attention of tennis fans and observers around the world.
Ahead of his first match of the tournament, Djokovic held an official press conference on June 26 (local time) to share his thoughts and expectations for the tournament. He won the singles final of the ATP Tour Masters 1000 Series Western & Southern Open, which concluded on April 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
In this particular match, he defeated Alcaraz 2-1 (5-7 7-6<9-7> 7-6<7-4>) in a thrilling three-hour, 49-minute match.
“It was one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played,” he said of his battle with Alcaraz. “I’m always pushing myself to the limit,” Djokovic said. This match (Western & Southern Open final) was without a doubt one of the most exciting and difficult best-of-three matches of my career.”
“I felt like I was winning a Grand Slam, which is why I collapsed on the field after winning this match. It was very hard physically and I was very exhausted for a few days,” he added.
After moving to New York from Cincinnati, Djokovic shook off the fatigue and began preparing for the US Open. “This (Billie Jean King Tennis Center) is the biggest stadium in tennis. It’s the most fun, exciting and exciting atmosphere, so I’m excited to be back here,” he said.
Djokovic missed last year’s US Open. He was barred from entering the United States because he had not been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Two years ago, Djokovic reached the US Open final, but lost to world No. 3 Danil Medvedev (27, Russia), missing out on a calendar Grand Slam (winning all four Grand Slam events in a year).
“Grand Slams are still the biggest goal of my career,” Djokovic said, emphasizing that “I am always focused on playing my best at Grand Slam events.”
He lost to Alcaraz 2-3 in the Wimbledon final last month. Djokovic had a strong showing at Wimbledon on grass courts. He narrowly missed out on a record 24th Grand Slam title at the event.
Djokovic, the No. 2 seed at the US Open, will need to reach the final to meet No. 1 seed Alcaraz. Djokovic said: “Carlos (Alcaraz) is the world number one right now. He’s definitely been one of the best players in the world in recent years,” Djokovic said, speaking highly of his new rival.
“Of course, there are eyes on him, on my team and on other teams. It’s the same for me. I’m sure we follow each other, watch and analyze our matches. It’s no secret,” he said, revealing that there is a fierce rivalry off the court.
“I feel more mature on the court,” Alcaraz told the press conference. I think I’m a better player than I was a year ago,” he said. “I’m trying to do the same thing I did last year (win the title). I don’t care about being the defending champion and the world ranking points.”
Alcaraz will be looking to upset Djokovic at the US Open. However, if he reaches the quarterfinals, he could face Yannick Saina (22, Italy, World No. 6), who is 3-3 against him.
In the first round, Alcaraz will meet Dominik Koepfer (GER, World No. 78). Djokovic will play Alexandre Muller (FRA, World No. 85) in his first match. 스포츠토토
South Korea will be represented in the main draw of the US Open by Kwon Sun-woo (Dangjin City Hall, World No. 104) in the men’s singles and Han Na-rae (Bucheon City Hall, World No. 243) in the women’s singles.
Meanwhile, TV channels SPOTV and SPOTV ON, as well as sports OTT service SPOTV NOW, will broadcast all US Open main draw matches via satellite. It will also be broadcast live on SPOTV ASIA. SPOTV Asia is broadcast in 13 countries across Southeast Asia and offers a wide range of content, including tennis Grand Slam events Wimbledon and the US Open, men’s professional tennis ATP Tour, motorcycle racing event MotoGP (GP), World Table Tennis (WTT) table tennis events, BWF (Badminton World Federation) badminton events, and the International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) Sport Climbing World Cup.