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The US Open: Looking back at Djokovic and his past

From+the+last+week+in+August+to+the+first+week+in+September%2C+one+of+the+biggest+tennis+tournaments+takes+place%3A+the+US+Open.
Creative Commons (Wikimedia)
From the last week in August to the first week in September, one of the biggest tennis tournaments takes place: the US Open.

From the last week of August to the first week of September, tennis coach Eric Gao graded assignments while watching a yellow ball soar across his TV. The screen encapsulated one of the most popular championships of all time: the US Open. 

The US Open, one of three Grand Slams, is one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world. 

This year on Sept. 9, Gao witnessed Coco Gauff, the women’s world number three, beat women’s world number one Aryna Sabalenka. Just a day later, Gao watched Novak Djokovic, the men’s world number one, display his 24th grand slam shirt after defeating Daniil Medvedev, the men’s world number three.

Gao grew up watching tennis, primarily the three G.O.A.Ts: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. 

“When I was growing up and watching tennis in 2008, I thought Djokovic was one of the best players in the world,” Gao said.

In the beginning of Djokovic’s career, he was overshadowed by other dominating players at the time until he won his first slam in 2008. Later that year, he won the Australian Open, but it would be another three years before Djokovic’s career took a turn. 

His numerous elbow and shoulder injuries throughout the 2016 season, made Djokovic unable to participate in tournaments. Djokovic had to forfeit the 2020 US Open after hitting a line judge with a ball. During the pandemic, Djokovic was not allowed to play in Australia or the US Open because he was not vaccinated. 

Oftentimes, people who are against vaccines are seen as conservative. But senior Vincent Reyes, while an advocate for vaccines, believes that people who are anti-vax “are skeptical of new things, especially new technology.”

“It’s unfortunate that vaccine companies and corporations that manufacture them have a history of not being transparent with their processes and what the vaccines contain,” Reyes said. “That creates a lot of distrust between the community and the manufacturers of these vaccines.” 

Despite receiving jeers from the crowd from accidentally hitting the judge or winning too much, Djokovic adapts to his environment to find a way to win.

“He’s got a mentality where he’s never going to give up,” Gao said.

In January of 2020, NBA Hall Of Famer Kobe Bryant, who wore the famous jersey number 24, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash. In order to honor his friend, Djokovic put a picture of him and Bryant on his 24th Grand Slam shirt to honor Bryant’s hard work as an NBA player and the countless hours that they spent training to be one of the best players for their respective sports.

At age 36, Djokovic is nearing retirement. He has been in the spotlight for most of his career, making the question of who will replace him pressing. 

At only 20 years old, Carlos Alcaraz has secured two Grand Slam titles with the potential to become the next Great.

“When someone who doesn’t watch or play a lot of tennis, they will watch players like Carlos Alcaraz,” Gao said. “He makes tennis look like a video game. It’s really cool.”

Djokovic has left a mark on tennis, and continues to conquer more slams. He hopes to become the first men’s player to win all four Grand Slam titles and the Olympic Gold Medal for tennis in one year.

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About the Contributor
William Liang, Staff Writer
William Liang ('27) joined The Review in 2023 as a freshman. He is Richard's brother. He likes ice cream and for his first job, he wants to work at Baskin Robbins.

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