Novak Djokovic is two matches away from making tennis history. If he wins in his next two outings to clinch the US Open, he will become the first male player since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Calendar Grand Slam – winning all four major tournaments in the same year.
“He’s in tremendous form, he’s been winning a lot. After Wimbledon I don’t think he’s lost a match,” the world number one said.
“Winning gold in the Olympics, winning in Cincinnati pretty comfortably, he moved into the semi-finals here… We played a month ago in Tokyo. I was a set and a break up and he managed to turn that around.
“[It’s the] semi-finals of a Grand Slam right now, he’s one of the best players in the world and I’m pumped. The bigger the challenge the more glory in overcoming it.”
Djokovic secured his 80th career win at Flushing Meadows with his quarter-final victory over Berrettini, but had to come from behind after going a set down to the man he beat in the Wimbledon final earlier this summer.
But the Serb produced “the best three sets I’ve played so far” and dramatically reduced the number of errors he was making to ensure he kept his Calendar Slam dream alive.
He said: “This was a great match, with a lot of energy on and off the court. Matteo is a terrific player and every time we face each other it’s a close battle.
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“When I lost the first set I managed to forget about it and move on. I was locked in at the start of the second and it was the best three sets I’ve played so far.”
Meanwhile, Zverev is hopeful he can repeat his Olympics feat and overcome Djokovic once again.
“Winning [in Tokyo] against the world number one, especially as I was down a set and a break, being kind of out of the match, then coming back, it was different than the other matches,” he said. “The emotions were different.
“This year it seems like nobody can beat him in a big match, nobody can beat him at the Grand Slams.
“I feel like I was the first player to beat him in a very big match this year. That does give you something.”