Novak Djokovic keen to have fun but fully focused on winning at US Open

Novak Djokovic keen to have fun but fully focused on winning at US Open

NEW YORK: After securing a victory in the US Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, Novak Djokovic let off some steam by performing a rendition of a Beastie Boys classic. The second-seeded player expressed his desire to savor his time on the court, even amidst the pressure to maintain his winning streak.

Novak Djokovic keen to have fun but fully focused on winning

The 36-year-old, aiming to equal Margaret Court’s historic record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles, confidently defeated American Taylor Fritz 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium, securing his spot in a record-breaking 47th major semi-final.

Appearing noticeably more at ease during his post-match interview, Djokovic sang “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” with fans in the stands enthusiastically joining in.

“I’m trying to cherish the moments on the court, but given the stress and pressure, it can be difficult to genuinely relish the experience,” explained the Serbian player. “For me, it’s more about finding a way to navigate the match and secure a victory,” he added.

“However, when it comes to the journey of being a professional athlete and traveling the world with my coaching team, we make an effort to maintain a relaxed atmosphere, have enjoyable moments, and relish life off the court,” he explained.

Fritz had only surrendered his serve once during his journey to the first-ever US Open quarter-final, spanning four three-set victories. However, the 25-year-old faced a challenging start, being broken three consecutive times at the beginning of the match.

At 2-1 in the second set, Djokovic successfully defended against four break points and managed to secure victory in a thrilling final few games of the third set. This victory keeps him on track for a possible return to the world No. 1 ranking next week.

The experienced player also expressed anticipation for what he believes will be a “tremendous contest” in the upcoming semi-finals on Friday. His opponent will be determined by the outcome of the all-American clash between Frances Tiafoe and Ben Shelton, which occurred after his own match.

Unseeded player Shelton unleashed an impressive 50 winners, making effective use of his powerful serve and blistering forehand to defeat Tiafoe with a score of 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 6-2. Regarding both players, Djokovic commented, “Both Shelton and Tiafoe possess a lot of charisma and bring an abundance of energy to the court. They showcase remarkable speed and power.”

“”It’s entirely typical and reasonable to expect that most of the audience would support the local player,” expressed in English language. However, these few days off are actually beneficial for my physical condition at this stage of the tournament. I’ll be prepared to face whoever stands on the opposite side of the net,” he stated.

Few sporting events in New York generate as much excitement as an all-American showdown beneath the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights during the pivotal stages of the season’s ultimate Grand Slam.

The atmosphere during a night session is consistently charged with excitement, but for Tiafoe and Shelton, it reached even greater heights. Their match marked a historic moment as the first time in 15 years that two black American men faced off on the world’s largest tennis stage.

The match met its high expectations, with 20-year-old Shelton becoming the youngest American to reach the US Open men’s semifinals since Michael Chang in 1992.

While facing Djokovic in the upcoming match may seem daunting, Shelton is self-assured in his ability to play the role of a disruptor. As the son of former professional Bryan, he possesses a potent combination of a powerful serve and forehand. He’ll need to bring all his strengths to the court on Friday to have a fighting chance in his inaugural encounter with Djokovic.

“I believe my playing style provides an advantage when facing someone who hasn’t encountered me before,” he remarked.

“I believe I can introduce elements that may not typically appear in your average ATP Tour match. So, on Friday, I’ll certainly aim to introduce some unique and, hopefully, disruptive aspects to the game,” stated Shelton. [Source: REUTERS, AFP]

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