With the end of the Olympics and Novak Djokovic’s failure to pick up the ‘Golden’ element of a possible calendar Grand Slam, the Serb has decided to bypass warm-up events for the US Open, where he intends to collect that fourth title to complete the set of four majors in one season – a feat not achieved since Rod Laver in 1969.
Sadly, that means I won't be ready to compete in Cincinnati this year so I'll turn my focus and attention to US Open and spend some more time with family. See you in New York soon! Novak Djokovic
“Dear fans, I wanted to share with you that I am taking a bit longer to recover and recuperate after quite a taxing journey from Australia to Tokyo,” he tweeted on Monday.
“Sadly, that means I won’t be ready to compete in Cincinnati this year so I’ll turn my focus and attention to US Open and spend some more time with family. See you in New York soon!”
Surprisingly Djokovic left Tokyo without a medal of any description having been beaten in the singles bronze medal match by Spain’s Pablo Carrena Busta, and then citing a shoulder injury to withdraw from the quarter-finals – the bronze medal match – in the Mixed doubles.
Interestingly he doesn’t mention the ‘injury’ in his message so presumably he has recovered from it!
Staying with the US Open, the former 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka has announced he will not be competing at this year’s event as he continues to recover from foot surgery.
However his place in the draw will be taken by Andy Murray, the 2012 champion who withdrew from the singles at the Olympics with a thigh strain but continued to play in the doubles to honour a commitment to his partner Joe Salisbury only for the pair to be beaten in the quarter-finals.
Earlier Murray had reached the third round at Wimbledon in what was his first appearance at a grand slam tournament this year having not been able to attend the Australian Open by the Coronavirus pandemic and then opting out of the French.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, who had hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019, lost in the second round to Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime at the 2020 US Open.
Murray has also now received a wild card for next week’s warm-up event in Cincinnati as the build up to the US Open – which starts on August 30 – increases.
Meanwhile that build up to New York has started with Jannik Sinner, the 19-year-old Italian prodigy, winning his first ATP Tour title and in the process, becoming the youngest ATP 500 champion since the level was created in 2009.
He beat America’s Mackenzie McDonald for the Citi Open title in Washington and showed great maturity which augurs well for his future while making light of his achievement.
“When you see somebody is the youngest or whatever, I don’t put much weight on that. There are a lot of players who have done much, much better than me,” Sinner told the ATP. “It’s not about who is the youngest or whatever. I just want to improve, work hard.”
That was last week and attention now turns to the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada, a Masters event which is being sponsored by the National Bank.
The first round got underway on Monday with the British No.1 Dan Evans taking on Kazakhstan’s Alexander Bublik only to suffer a straight sets defeat.
The 31-year-old from Birmingham made a good start, breaking his opponent early in the first set, only to immediately hand back that advantage and lose the opening set.
He also found himself a break down early in the second en route to a 6-4 6-4 loss after 100-minutes.
It was the Brits second defeat since reaching the third round at Wimbledon and later forced to withdraw from the Olympics after testing positive for coronavirus.
On his return to the tour last week, he lost 7-6(1) 6-0 to Brandon Nakashima at the Citi Open in Washington.
Bublik will now take on top seed Daniil Medvedev in round two, the Russian having received a first round bye, as has the second seed from Spain, Rafa Nadal who admitted after his shock three-set loss to Lloyd Harris of South Africa in the Washington round of 16, that he was lacking in confidence because of a left foot injury which is hampering his preparations – an injury which kept him out of Wimbledon and the Olympics.
“It’s been a couple of tough months for me in terms of physical issues,” the five-time Canadian Open champion told reporters at the event in Toronto.
“I know I am not at my peak yet, but I think I have been practising better than what I played in Washington so I am excited to keep going here and be able to play a little bit better than there.”
He will certainly be able to measure any improvement as his first opponent is that Springbok Harris who won through by defeating Canadian Brayden Schnur 6-3 6-2 and no doubt hopes to prove that his Washington win wasn’t a flash in the pan.