Is history going to repeat itself when Novak Djokovic bids to win the US Open for only the second time in his career?
The only previous time Djokovic was the champion at Flushing Meadows was in 2011 when he beat Rafael Nadal in four sets. That is also the only year when he has won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in the same year – something he has achieved already in 2015.
His record this year is tremendous as, after losing to Ivo Karlovic in Qatar in his first tournament of the year, Djokovic has reached the final in all subsequent 10 tournaments he has played in.
However, he heads into the US Open in the unusual position of losing his two most recent finals. He was beaten by Andy Murray in the final of the Rogers Cup in three sets in a pulsating game and he was then beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer in the final in Cincinnati.
It’s not quite the same build-up Djokovic had in 2011 as he beat Mardy Fish in the final of theRogers Cup before losing to Murray in the final in Cincinnati. Still, despite Djokovic having consistently shown he is the best player in the world this year, his two recent defeats have lefta slight air of vulnerability hanging over the Serb.
Federer and Murray clearly rate as the biggest dangers to Djokovic in New York, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that he suffered a surprise defeat by Kei Nishikori in the semi-finals a year ago. He had reached the final in the previous four years, losing twice to Nadal, in addition to beating the Spaniard, and also losing to Murray in five sets in 2012 after he had drawn level from two sets down.
Murray’s first win over Djokovic since the Wimbledon final of 2013 will have given the Scot the confidence he needs to think he can win another Grand Slam, whether he is drawn to meethim in the semi-finals or the final.
Likewise, Federer will take great heart from the fact he has beaten Djokovic twice in finals this year, in addition to losing three, as the 34-year-old bids for only his second Grand Slam title since winning the Australian Open in 2010, and his first since Wimbledon 2012.
You can watch live tennis streaming online at playlivestream.com and the fortnight of the US Open promises to be fascinating viewing judged on the quality of tennis played at the recent Masters events.
History suggests Djokovic can win his third Grand Slam title of the year and it would be a brave man to back against him reaching the final at the very least. But Federer and Murray have raised their game a notch in the past month and will push the world number one all the way.