World No 1 Novak Djokovic says he nearly skipped the US Open but plans to play the Grand Slam event despite Covid-19 concerns in part to chase tennis history.
Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam singles champion, told the New York Times that trying to catch Roger Federer’s men’s record 20 Slam crowns was “of course” a major factor in his decision to play the Flushing Meadows fortnight that begins 31 August.
“One of the reasons why I keep on playing professional tennis on this level is because I want to reach more heights in the tennis world,” Djokovic told the newspaper.
The 33-year-old Serbian has won five of the past seven men’s singles Slam crowns but came to the New York hardcourts only after assurances from European officials that players returning from the US Open would not face a long quarantine before upcoming European events such as Roland Garros.
“I was very close to not coming,” said Djokovic, who made the final decision less than a week before arriving. “There were a lot of uncertainties.”
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