Novak Djokovic will bid to become the first man to complete the calendar Grand Slam in 52 years on Sunday when he meets Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Twenty-four hours after Emma Raducanu’s momentous win, Djokovic could create more tennis history by becoming the first male player since Australian Rod Laver to win all four major titles in the same year.
A win for the Serb would also give him a 21st Grand Slam singles title, taking him one clear of the men’s record jointly held by his great rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Standing in the 34-year-old’s way is the second seed Medvedev, who Djokovic beat to win his first Slam of the year in the Australian Open final in February.
Djokovic has spent more time on court than he would have liked en route to his ninth final in New York and at times has knocked back questions on his quest to win the calendar Slam.
Medvedev, meanwhile, has dropped only one set in reaching his third major final as the 25-year-old seeks to win one the sport’s biggest prizes for the first time.
One match between Djokovic and history
Djokovic has tried his best to play down the significance of winning a fourth US Open title this week but it is impossible to ignore.
In the near endless debate to name the greatest men’s player of all-time, were Djokovic to add the US Open crown to those he won in Melbourne, Paris and Wimbledon earlier this year, a feat neither Federer or Nadal have achieved, it could be a defining moment.
During his post-match interview after his quarter-final win over Matteo Berrettini, Djokovic cut off his interviewer when realising he was going to have to field another question on the subject.
“I just said millions of times that of course I’m aware of the history, of course it gives me motivation,” he said later. “If I start to think about it too much, it burdens me mentally.”
Djokovic needed five sets to beat Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals – only one of his matches has been won in straight sets – but afterwards did hint at the importance of Sunday’s showpiece.
“I’m going to treat this match as it’s my last one because it’s arguably the most important one of my career maybe,” he said.
“Maybe not, I don’t know. But of this year, for sure.
“It’s going to be a battle against another guy who has been in tremendous form.
“He’s already had couple of Grand Slam finals behind him. I think experience-wise it’s different for him now. I’m sure he’s going to give it all to win it, to win his first Slam.”