Novak Djokovic rules out revenge against Americans or Carlos Alcaraz as US Op…

Novak Djokovic  has claimed he will not be mulling over missing last year or Carlos Alcaraz when he makes his return to the US Open.

The Serbian superstar’s last match in New York ended in tears and cheers from the crowd in 2021 when he lost the final – and his chance to complete a career Grand Slam – to Daniil Medvedev.

His refusal to get a Covid-19 vaccine saw him banned from entering the USA last summer.

But before facing Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the first round on Monday, the world No.2 insisted: “There was no anger. It was last year during the Open that I felt it’s a pity that I’m not there. I felt sad for not being able to participate.

“But this year is this year. I don’t think about what happened in the last year or the last couple of years. Just focusing my attention on this year’s tournament.”

Djokovic won the first two Majors this year before losing the Wimbledon final to Alcaraz and then gained some revenge – and a psychological advantage coming here – in an epic Cincinnati contest on Sunday.

The 36-year-old will now bid again to win his 24th Grand Slam singles title and equal the record set by Margaret Court.

“Grand Slams are the biggest goals that I have in my career at the moment,” he said. “I don’t know how many more Slams I’ll have. I’ll still keep going. I don’t have an end in my mind at the moment. I also understand that things are different when you’re 36, so I have to be more appreciative, a bit more I guess present, treating every Grand Slam as maybe your last one in terms of commitment and performance.

“I see this every Grand Slam that I play right now as really a golden opportunity to make more history. Of course, there’s a big significance to that.

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“I wouldn’t say it adds a bit more, the fact I haven’t played here for two years, it’s just the feeling is pretty much the same. There’s always these expectations, excitement, and ambition to win the title. That’s pretty much the same this year.”

Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title here last year to become the youngest ever world No.1. His lead at the top of the rankings was cut to only 20 points after Djokovic won a three-set classic in the final in Cincinnati.

The top two seeds are on collision course to clash again in the final here on September 10.

Djokovic, who won his third US Open title in 2018, said: “I think it’s also in a way disrespectful to your next opponent if you’re already thinking about your finals matchup. Even though I’ve had tremendous success, maybe you could argue that I could already start thinking about later phases and stages in the tournament, but that kind of mindset never really resonated with me.

“But Carlos is No. 1 in the world. He’s definitely one of the best players in the world the last couple years. Sure, there’s always an eye that follows him from my team, from any other team.

“I know that the same goes for me probably. We follow each other.

“I’m sure his team watches my matches. My team watches his matches. It’s no secret. But seriously working on a practice court on something that is related to Alcaraz, it only happens if I get to play him.”

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