Novak Djokovic has set his sights on becoming only the second man in the Open era to win the calendar Grand Slam after coming back from two sets down to win the French Open.
Djokovic, who had stunned pre-tournament favourite Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, had no answer to Stefanos Tsitsipas early on as the Greek sealed the opening two sets.
But the world No1 settled for a 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 victory to leave him just one shy of the 20 Grand Slam titles of Nadal and Roger Federer, and halfway to a clean sweep of the Grand Slams.
Djokovic is now the overwhelming favourite to emulate Rod Laver in 1969 with both the Wimbledon and US Open titles, and to even match Steffi Graf’s Golden Slam in 1988 in which she also won Olympic gold.
“Everything is possible and I did put myself in a good position to go for the Golden Slam,” he said. “But you know I was in this position in 2016 as well. It ended up in a third-round loss in Wimbledon.
“This year we have only two weeks between the first round of Wimbledon and the finals here, which is not ideal because you go from really two completely different surfaces, trying to make that transition as smooth as possible, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
“So, obviously I will enjoy this win and then think about Wimbledon in a few days’ time. I don’t have an issue to say that I’m going for the title in Wimbledon. Of course I am. I’ve had a great success in the last couple of Wimbledon seasons that we played. I won in ’18 and ’19 there – hopefully I can keep that run going. Then, let’s take it from there.”
Against Djokovic in last year’s French Open final, Djokovic had very much played second fiddle but halted Nadal’s quest for a 14th title at Roland Garros and the outright record of 21 Grand Slams.
On current form, the 34-year-old Serbian looks likely to be the first man to 21 came the season’s end.
And former world No1 Mats Wilander, who won seven Grand Slams during his career, said it would be impossible to bet against Djokovic on Wimbledon’s grass.
“We are now heading into the season where we would have to put Novak as favourite to win Wimbledon most probably,” Wilander told Eurosport, “favourite at the US Open because of what he does on hard courts – 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.
“It’s tough to beat these guys in five sets, they know how to play them. Even Bjorn Borg, who won Grand Slam after Grand Slam in a row, is understanding that these guys are unbelievable, they are not human.”