Novak Djokovic says he is in a “good position” to complete the first Grand Slam of the men’s singles calendar year in 52 years by winning four more matches to win the US Open.
Djokovic, the world number one, defeated Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday to advance to the fourth round on the New York hard courts.
The 34-year-old Serbian star said it was his second French Open title win this year, his “Mount Everest” of slim crowns, which convinced him that a year’s slim sweep was possible.
“After winning in Paris this year, I realized, ‘Well, I like my chances on the grass, I’ve won two Wimbledons in a row, I’ve improved on the grass over the years – it didn’t seem impossible to go now For all four in the same year, “Djokovic said.
“So I’m here. I’m in a good position to do that. I’m still in the tournament. But I have to take one match at a time.”
With a fourth career US Open trophy, Djokovic will win the first major men’s singles title the same year since Rod Lever in 1969.
Djokovic is also pursuing history in search of the 21st Grand Slam title of his career, which will break the deadlock for the men’s record he shares with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, despite both injuries. Are absent
Nishikori, who fell 2-18 with his 17th consecutive defeat against Djokovic, said he saw no sign that the pressure to find a Grand Slam had changed the way his opponent played.
“I would say he was the same,” Nishikori said. “Maybe he’s feeling a lot of pressure inside, but I couldn’t see during the match.”
Djokovic’s next encounter will be with 99th-ranked American wild card Jensen Brooksby, who defeated 21st-seeded Russian Aslan Karatsev 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Brooksby, 20, defeated Kratsev on Russia’s 28th birthday, becoming the youngest American in the last 16 of the US Open since Andy Roddick in 2002.
“(Brooksby) is one of the players that Locker Room often talks about because of his abilities,” Djokovic said. “Hopefully I will do my best.”
Djokovic could face Italian sixth seed Matteo Beretini in the quarterfinals, Olympic champion in the semifinals and fourth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany and Russian second seed Daniel Medvedev in the final.
Djokovic, who has won eight of the last 12 slams, completed his career grand slam by winning the 2016 French Open, giving him four slam titles at the same time, albeit not in a calendar year.
“Perhaps the biggest Grand Slam career satisfaction I had was when I won four in a row in 2016 when I won her first Roland Garros Trophy,” said Djokovic.
“Even though I grew up playing on the ground, I feel like Roland Garros has always been Mount Everest for me. It was the hardest thing for me to win out of four.
“Both the 2016 and this year’s wins at the French Open feel the same. I felt that if I won the Roland Garros this year, I had a good chance of doing it all this year, Calendar Slam.”