World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is miraculously defending his title at the Australian Open 2021. Withstanding a reported muscle tear, he defeated Alexander Zverev in four strenuous sets, reaching the semifinals for a record ninth time. Now, yet another challenge stands in front of him.
On the eight previous occasions, the Serbian ace has never lost in the semi-finals or even in the finals. However, the pandemic-induced conditions can play a role in changing this tremendous record.
Other than that, the number of games Novak has played to reach this stage is a concerning factor. He had to battle for a whopping 202 games, the third-highest in Open Era, to make it to the last four.
Thus, the fatigue from these long matches could very well take its toll in the last two battles of the tournament. And it also showed in the match against Zverev, where he viciously broke his racket at one point.
The effect of no. of games on Djokovic’s plan
Besides the Serbian ace, former World No. 1’s, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras are also a part of this club.
The Czech professional is in the first place, having played 225 games to reach the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1998. Coming in second place, Pistol Pete played 213 games to make the semifinals of the French Open in 1996.
What’s more and worrying for Novak Djokovic is that they both lost in their semifinals. Contrarily, the 33-year-old wouldn’t want to ruin his clean record in Melbourne Park.
Fortunately, his next opponent is Russia’s Aslan Karatsev, a qualifier and a first-time semifinalist at a Major tournament. But on his way, the 27-year-old Russian has caused many upsets, and beating Djokovic will be a dream come true for him.
Read More: All You Need to Know About Aslan Karatsev
Will Novak Djokovic win his 18th Grand Slam in Melbourne Park?
Djokovic is hungry as ever to get past Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in every possible record. And so this will be a great opportunity for him to get his 18th Major title. However, all of the success now entirely depends on fatigue and the level of recovery for the next matches. On the opposite side of the draw, Rafael Nadal also has some back issues but hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament.
Let us see if Djokovic joins Ivan and Pete or defies to be in the club. He will face Karatsev on February 18, at the Rod Laver Arena.
Can Djokovic continue his miracle for two more matches at the Australian Open 2021?