Tennis grand slams: Who is the greatest of all time?
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Novak Djokovic has revealed he wants to be remembered fondly when his tennis career comes to an end. The Serb is currently at the US Open, where he’s hoping to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam. And the 34-year-old boosted his chances of doing that with victory over Kei Nishikori on Saturday evening.
Djokovic lost the first set to Nishikori on a tie-break.
But the Serb then rallied, eventually winning 6-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to make the fourth round of the competition.
Djokovic is now just mere matches away from winning a 21st Grand Slam, something that would move him ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the history books.
And the 34-year-old, speaking afterwards, has admitted he wants to be remembered fondly when he retires – insisting it means more to him than trophies.
“I would like people, particularly my peers, the fellow tennis players, both men’s and women’s side, to remember me as someone that first of all left his heart out on the court and has inspired maybe players to get better and to improve and to believe in themselves more,” he said.
“I’m very passionate about children and early childhood education.
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“My foundation is really focused on the last 15 years. That’s something I would like to be remembered for, of course.
“Also, someone that really tries to live up to the true values of life: respecting and being grateful, appreciating the moment, appreciating the fact that I’m playing the sport that | truly love and I’m very successful in.
“Not many probably people around the world could say that maybe they are the best in the world in what they love to do.
“I try to not take anything for granted.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to take a step back and observe things from a different perspective once you’re in the, so to say, game.
“You’re touring, you’re traveling nonstop, what’s the next challenge, what’s the next tournament you have to win, what’s the next goal to achieve.
“It’s really hard to comprehend sometimes life from a bird’s eye perspective from me in terms of tennis, because I’m so involved right now on the court and there are so many things I want to achieve still on the court.
“All in all, I would love to leave the legacy first of all that is a good human being, someone that people respect as a person, that has good character, and of course then after a tennis player.
“For me those things are more important than results.”
Djokovic was unhappy with his early form against Nishikori, admitting he was ‘quite passive’ when the match got underway.
“I don’t think I started off very well but he surprised me with his level today,” Djokovic said.
“It took me a little bit of time to adjust to his game. I was quite passive.
“I was too far back in the court. He was dictating the play. I was still trying to find the rhythm, find the tempo.
“Obviously he played much quicker and more aggressive than my opponents in the opening rounds did.”
Should Djokovic win the US Open, it’ll complete the Calendar Slam.
And the Serb has opened up on the possibility of that happening, admitting he’s now dreaming of making history.
He said: “After I won in Paris this year, I felt like, ‘OK, I like my chances on grass, I won two Wimbledons in a row, I’ve improved over the years on grass – it did not seem impossible anymore to go for all four in a row in the same year,” he said.
“So here I am. I’m in a good position to do that. Still in the tournament.
“But I’ve got to take one match at a time.
“Probably the greatest Grand Slam career satisfaction I had is when I won four in a row back in 2016 when I crowned it with the first Roland Garros trophy.
“Even though I grew up playing on clay, I feel like Roland Garros has always been probably the Mount Everest for me. Out of all four Slams, that was the toughest for me to win.
“Both 2016 and this year’s win on French Open feel kind of similar. I felt if I win Roland Garros in that year, I have a good chance to maybe do it all in same year, Calendar Slam.”
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