Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic believes ‘absence of Serena, Roger, Rafa, Dominic & Venus’ is affecting US Open

Novak Djokovic moved within five wins of completing a calendar Grand Slam after defeating Tallon Griekspoor 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 to setup a third round clash against Kei Nishikori.

The Serb expressed his desire to attract fans and grow tennis in New York with other icons like Naomi Osaka.

“Of course, as a tennis fan, as well, I’d like to see as many people as possible,” he said. “If I and Naomi manage, along with other players, to attract more people to the US Open, to the stands, great. If not, not great.”

Djokovic admitted that the withdrawals of top stars Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem was a blow to the tournament, however it offers younger players an opportunity to boost their profiles.

“Of course, the absence of Serena, Rafa, Roger, Dominic, of course, Venus, is affecting, no doubt about it,” Djokovic added. “But we are here. I feel also the players who are here, along with me on the men’s side, deserve the credit. They’re the next generation.”

“We need to do more promotion of their own stories, their own brands. I know that people like to see the three of us on the men’s side, of course Serena, Williams sisters, Naomi, probably some big stars on the women’s side.”

The 34-year-old discussed the ‘Big Three’, declaring ‘they compliment each other’ and he hopes the GOAT discussions carry on for a little while yet.

“We do complement each other,” the Serb said. “I think the rivalry between the Big 3, so to say, it’s phenomenal for our sport. So the more traction, the more conversation there is around the three of us, the GOAT discussion, et cetera, the better in general for our sport.”


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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.