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Is Novak Djokovic Chasing Roger Federer’s Slam Record? You Betcha! | ATP Tour

Having won four of the past five Grand Slams, Novak Djokovic’s position on the all-time Grand Slam titles leader board is looking better than ever. And, on the eve of the US Open, the World No. 1 made it clear that he was aiming for the top spot on that list.

Djokovic arrives in Flushing Meadows with his sights set on a 17th Grand Slam crown, which, if achieved, would bring him to within one title of second-placed Rafael Nadal (18) and three shy of all-time leader Roger Federer (20).

”I’m aware of [the debate around the Grand Slam titles leaderboard]. I mean, I’m part of this world. Of course, I can’t completely switch off and eliminate what people are talking about,” said Djokovic.

”It’s flattering, obviously. But at the same time, you know, it’s still a very long way ahead of me. It does also put a certain level of responsibility to me as well, because I am aiming to do that. It’s definitely one of my ambitions and goals. I am 32, so things are a little bit different than they were 10 years ago, but I still feel young inside and outside. I am still very motivated to keep going.”

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Last month, Djokovic saved two championship points to beat Federer 13-12 in the fifth set of an instant-classic Wimbledon final. The victory marked Djokovic’s fifth title run at SW19 and denied Federer a place in the history books as the oldest Grand Slam champion in the Open Era at 37 years, 340 days.

Djokovic’s win against Federer at the All England Club was his third in a Wimbledon final against his great rival (2014, ’15) and will live long in the memory of the Serbian, who shares the top half of the US Open draw with third seed Federer. Djokovic placed this year’s Wimbledon win against the Swiss alongside his 2012 Australian Open final victory against Nadal as one of the greatest matches of his career.

“It’s [in the] top two matches I have ever played… The other match is the one against Nadal in the finals of [the 2012] Australian Open which went for almost six hours,” said Djokovic. “So, those two matches really are very special and take a special place in my career and my mind as well.

“I do still have flashes from the 2012 Australian Open match still that many years after. Of course, I would wish to remember the Wimbledon final against Roger this year for many years to come.”

Due to the fast-paced nature of life on the ATP Tour, there is rarely time to take a moment to reflect on milestone victories. But Djokovic’s recent dominance at the Grand Slam level does provide the Serbian with a strong belief in his abilities and a desire to achieve even greater success in the sport.

”Once I’m done with my career or maybe slowing down the pace with tournaments, I guess I’ll have more time to really reflect on everything and look at those matches… It’s really hard to look back too much,” said Djokovic.

”Of course, you’re looking back and then it awakens certain kind of emotions that, of course, are positive and it allows you to awaken that confidence in you, the belief and the motivation. It inspires you to again keep going and trying to reach more historic results. But at the same time, you have to stay in the present moment.”

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Heading into the US Open as the defending champion for the third time in his career, the Serbian will be attempting to successfully defend his title in New York for the first time. Djokovic has reached the final in seven of his eight most recent appearances at the final Grand Slam of the year and owns a 69-10 record at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

“I, personally, have enjoyed lots of success and have been blessed to play well on these courts here at the US Open, especially the Arthur Ashe Stadium,” said Djokovic. “I have not lost too many matches in my career playing night session, and a lot of matches that I get to play in Arthur Ashe Stadium are night sessions. So, I really do enjoy that loud atmosphere that happens in there, which is quite the opposite of, for example, Wimbledon, except the last finals match.

“And I think you just adjust to it. You adapt to it. You accept it. You embrace it. I do embrace it because I think it’s good for our sport to have various different atmospheres on the centre courts of four different Grand Slams.”

With Federer and Nadal also looking to add to their Grand Slam trophy collections and stretch their lead against Djokovic, this coming fortnight could see the Grand Slam leader board dynamic change yet again. For Djokovic, his first mission will be to get past first-round opponent Roberto Carballes Baena. Achieving his ultimate goal will take time, effort and a lot more winning.

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Winston-Salem Open: Andy Murray Loses to Tennys Sandren During Second Match Of Comeback | ATP Tour

Andy Murray isn’t one for moral victories, but the Scot should be encouraged by his first-round match at the Winston-Salem Open, even if it ended in a loss.

American Tennys Sandgren beat Murray 7-6(8), 7-5 to advance to the second round at the ATP 250 tournament. Sandgren fought through a marathon 75-minute first set, but was broken while serving for the match at 5-4. Sandgren, however, broke right back and served it out on his second attempt.

“It was a great atmosphere. Everyone was super excited. Obviously, Andy, his career speaks for itself, so to have him here and playing and to be able to compete against him tonight was a pleasure,” Sandgren said. “The match itself was really close. The first set could have gone either way and to come out with it was a big relief… It was a tight two-set match, long and physical and I’m happy to come through.”

Murray was playing in only his second singles match since January at the Australian Open. After undergoing right hip surgery on 28 January, he began his singles comeback last week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, falling to eventual semi-finalist Richard Gasquet in the first round.

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While both matches ended in defeat, Murray showed vast improvement against Sandgren. Gone were the tentative groundstrokes that dominated rallies against the crafty Gasquet, and Murray, who occasionally let balls go against the Frenchman, chased down everything he could and charged forward often against Sandgren. The American, however, was more than happy to pass Murray on the run and on the stretch.

“Some things were a bit better today I think. I was hitting the ball a bit cleaner than I did maybe in Cincinnati… I feel like I moved fairly well to some drop shots, which maybe last week I wasn’t running to. So there’s some good things in there but also some stuff I would like to do better,” Murray said. “Physically, [I feel] OK considering, no pain, no discomfort. Just a little bit more tired than usual.”

Murray, who accepted a late wild card, said he didn’t fear losing during the initial stages of his comeback. 

“I’m quite aware of sort of where I’m at just now and what my level is. It’s competitive at this level but it needs to be better,” Murray said. “Maybe I need play a level down to get some matches and build my game up a little bit before I start playing on the Tour again.”

Murray will not compete at next week’s US Open and is considering playing an ATP Challenger Tour event before heading to Asia for the tour-level swing there.

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Sandgren, No. 73 in the ATP Rankings, will next meet meet second seed Denis Shapovalov of Canada. In other action during a rain-soaked day of play, Duckhee Lee became the first deaf player to win an ATP Tour match, beating Swiss Henri Laaksonen 7-6(4), 6-1. Lee will next face third seed Hubert Hurkacz of Poland.

Spain’s Pablo Andujar beat Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 6-2 and will face countryman Feliciano Lopez, the 16th seed, for a place in the third round. Aussie Alexei Popyrin set up a #NextGenATP battle with Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic by beating Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(7). And American Bjorn Fratangelo was perfect against Israeli Amir Weintraub, advancing 6-0, 6-0 and will next meet #NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert, the 15th seed.

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