Novak Djokovic ready for Alexander Zverev ‘hurdle’ as he explains how his ‘game fell apart’ in Tokyo semi-final

Novak Djokovic talks to the media

The last time they met his “game fell apart”, but Novak Djokovic is ready for another battle against Alexander Zverev and believes “a few points will determine the winner”.

The duo will square off in the US Open semi-final on Friday, but their last match is still fresh in the memory as the German came from a set and a break down to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 their Olympic last-four encounter.

Zverev went on to claim the gold medal at the Tokyo Games and followed it up by winning the Cincinnati Masters. He will start Friday’s last-four encounter on a 16-match winning streak.

Djokovic, though, is chasing history as he will become only the second player after Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Calendar Grand Slam if he wins the US Open while the trophy would also see him secure a record 21st Grand Slam, which will see him move ahead of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

The world No 1 reflected on his dramatic semi-final defeat in Tokyo.

“The Olympic Games have been tough ending for me emotionally. But I did dominate the tournament to semi-finals,” he said. “I was 6-1, 3-2 against Zverev, who was also playing very well. Just I played great, great tennis. Then unfortunately game fell apart. It happens.

“I just started to doubt my shots a bit. He started to read my serve well. He has a tremendous serve. He got a lot of free points on his service games. Next thing you know he won it. He won it comfortably in the end. Deserved to win a gold medal obviously with the way he was playing. He hasn’t lost a match since.

“He’s in a fantastic form. Next to [Daniil] Medvedev, best form. But it’s best-of-five. It’s Grand Slam. Of course looking at his results in past few years, he’s played very well here on this court. He was a couple points away from his first Slam last year against Dominic.

“I know it’s going to be battle, even harder than it was [Wednesday]. But I’m ready for it. Look, these are the hurdles that I need to overcome in order to get to the desired destination. Result is something that I can’t predict, but I can definitely put myself in the best possible state of mind and body to perform as well as I can.

“I know his game. As I said, I know his game very well. I’ve seen him play. He’s been playing very, very well. Again, semis. When we face each other, there’s nerves, a lot of things on the line. It could go both ways. I think very few points will really determine the winner there. Let’s see what happens.”