Novak Djokovic warned ‘dangerous’ Rafael Nadal could thwart Calendar Slam bid at US Open

Andy Murray compared to Novak Djokovic by McEnroe

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Simona Halep’s coach has predicted that Rafael Nadal stands a great chance of thwarting Novak Djokovic’s attempts of sealing the Calendar Grand Slam at the US Open. The Serb now holds all three Grand Slam titles on offer in 2021 after his Wimbledon victory, and he will aim to make history by becoming the first man to achieve the feat if he completes the quartet in New York.

Having claimed his ninth Australian Open, Djokovic defied the odds by inflicting defeat on Nadal at his favoured Roland Garros.

The Spaniard chose not to compete at this year’s Wimbledon in an effort to ‘prolong his career’ through physical recovery.

Darren Cahill believes he will come back with vengeance, though, telling ESPN: “Nadal’s going to try to stop him (Djokovic) in New York.

“You know Rafa likes to play in New York. He likes the high-bouncing conditions, and he’s had big success there before as well.

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“He’s going to play some hard court tennis, so he’s ready to be a big challenge in New York.

“Can’t wait for that with Novak going for the Grand Slam.

“[Matteo Berrettini] made the semi-finals of the US Open a couple of years ago. He’s got a great game for the fast hard courts, and I feel like he’s maturing as a tennis player from what we saw from a couple of years ago.

“His serve has improved, his slice backhand has improved, he’s a lot more patient, and he can thump a forehand winner from anywhere on the court. So, he’s always going to be dangerous for the entire field.”

Having played Berrettini in the Wimbledon final, Djokovic should fancy his chances after overcoming the Italian in four sets.

Although, reverting back to the hard court may change matters entirely.

When it comes to the US Open, it has not traditionally been one of Djokovic’s favourites with only three victories during his illustrious career.

In comparison, Nadal has claimed four titles in New York and one would expect him to have plenty of energy left in the tank after sitting out Wimbledon.

Not only will the Spaniard be fighting to stop Djokovic completing the Calendar Grand Slam, but also to stop him pulling clear of the ‘Big Three’, who all currently sit on 20 Grand Slam titles apiece.

Reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem would also have posed a challenge to Djokovic’s noble quest, although his wrist injury may yet keep him out of the tournament.

There are sure to be storylines aplenty going into August’s Slam, with focus as much on whether Djokovic can complete the Calendar Slam as to who on Earth can stop him.

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