Tennis – Djokovic still on course to make history, says Armenulic

Tennis: US Open
FILE PHOTO: Sep 12, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia (M) acknowledges the crowd during an interview with ESPN hist Chris McKendry (R) during the trophy ceremony after his match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia (not pictured) in the men's singles final on day fourteen of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

September 13, 2021

By Zoran Milosavljevic

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic will swiftly overcome the disappointment of failing to win a calendar Grand Slam and a record-breaking 21st major at the U.S. Open, former Yugoslavia Davis Cup coach Radmilo Armenulic told Reuters on Monday.

Djokovic suffered a crushing straight-sets loss to Russian Daniil Medvedev but Armenulic, who guided Yugoslavia to three Davis Cup semi-finals from 1988 to 1991, was confident it would not derail the 34-year old Serb’s quest.

“I think he’s got two or three years left at the highest level and he has every chance of winning another three or four slams, which would be enough to make his tally unbeatable,” said the 81-year-old Armenulic.

“His age will at some point undoubtedly become a factor and the younger contenders are at an advantage because they can still improve whereas all he can do is work hard to stay on his current level.”

Djokovic is tied with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal at 20 majors each and although Armenulic conceded the world number one was well below par in Sunday’s final, he predicted Djokovic would nose ahead of his rivals at next year’s Australian Open.

“Djokovic was under tremendous pressure from the Serbian audience and exhausted after the semi-final win over Alexander Zverev. He looked flat and didn’t move well on the court.

“Fans and media in Serbia practically demanded victory and it was clear from the start that he came into the match with so much weight on his shoulders. He couldn’t get it out of his head and it cost him the title.

“I am sure he will bounce back quickly. The Australian Open is his tournament and I am almost convinced that he will win a record-breaking 21st slam in Melbourne.”

The Australian Open, which Djokovic has won a record nine times, will be held from Jan. 17-30.

(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic, editing by Ed Osmond)