French Open

Djokovic on brink of history

2015-06-07 11:08
Novak Djokovic (AFP)

Paris - Novak Djokovic faces Stan Wawrinka in the French Open final on Sunday targeting a first Roland Garros title to become just the eighth man to secure a career Grand Slam.

World number one Djokovic takes a 17-3 career lead into his clash against Wawrinka whose win over the Serb in the 2014 Australian Open quarter-finals put him on the way to his first, and so far only, major title.

It also snapped an eight-year losing streak against the eight-time Grand Slam trophy winner.

Djokovic will be playing in his third French Open final having lost the 2012 and 2014 championship matches to nine-time champion Rafael Nadal.

But having handed Nadal just his second ever loss at Roland Garros in the quarter-finals and then seeing off world number three Andy Murray in five sets in a semi-final stretched over two days, the 28-year-old is primed for history.

Only Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Nadal have won all four majors.

But Djokovic has even greater objectives in sight - victory over Wawrinka would put him halfway to a calendar Grand Slam, a challenge so daunting that only Budge (1938) and Laver (1962 and 1969) have managed to pull it off.

"It is obviously very encouraging knowing that I have won all of the big events from last October, and playing some of my best tennis," said Djokovic, who has lost just twice in 41 matches in 2015, is on a 28-win streak and has already claimed a fifth Australian Open as well as Masters at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome this year.

"But I have been in this situation before when people were speculating, is this the year or not? Can I win the title or not."

Djokovic insists that having to come back on Saturday to play another hour to finish his semi-final against Murray after a Friday night suspension will have no bearing on his physical fitness for Sunday's match.

"It wasn't physically an easy match, that's for sure, but I think I will be fine for the final," said the Serb.

Djokovic and Wawrinka have met six times on clay and the Swiss has won just one of those - in Umag in the pair's first clash way back in 2006 and even that was through a retirement.

Djokovic also came out on top in their most recent battle, a five-set marathon in the Australian Open semi-finals in January where the world number one clinched the deciding set 6-0.

Wawrinka, who put out Federer in the quarter-finals in Paris, insists his poor record against Djokovic will not be a factor as he tries to escape the 'one Slam wonder' club.

"He's a machine," said the 30-year-old of Djokovic.

"But again, he has never won the French Open. Maybe he's gonna play his best tennis and beat me straight sets," he said.

"But I shouldn't forget that my game can bother the top players and when I am in form I can seize the opportunity to defeat them all."

Read more on:    french open  |  novak djokovic  |  tennis


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