World No. 1 Novak Djokovic had one of the most dominant and brilliant individual Grand Slam seasons last year when he reached the finals of all 4 Grand Slams and apart from the 2021 US Open, he won titles in the remaining three majors to finish with a 27-1 record in Grand Slam matches last year. The run also saw him catch rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Slams each at the end of the 2021 season.
Novak started the 2021 season with 17 majors to his name but by the end of July 2021, he had matched Federer and Nadal’s tally of 20 majors. He had a golden chance at his hand at the US Open to become the man with most Slams and also achieve the very rare Calendar Slam (winning all majors in 1 calendar year). It was not however meant to be as World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev beat Djokovic in straight-sets to win his first major but deny Djokovic his 21st.
As Novak awaits to know whether he can participate in the remaining 3 Slams of the season as he was not allowed for the 2022 Australian Open, World No. 20 Reilly Opelka spoke about the dominant players on the Tour whom he would like to follow going ahead having won just his 3rd Tour title last week at the 2022 Dallas Open.
“In the last Grand Slam tournaments, I lost against very strong players. Medvedev, Shapovalov, then Lloyd Harris were on fire against me. No one but Nadal can beat Medvedev, even Novak was beaten easily at the US Open. I always think I have to improve. I want to serve even better, I want to become physically stronger and faster. In two or three years, I hope to be able to say that I have progressed so much in what I was already doing well today,” said Opelka in an interview with Ubitennis.
Reilly Opelka chasing title number 4 this week
Opelka is the second seed at the ongoing 2022 Delray Beach Open where he was handed a first-round bye and will now take on Jack Sock in the second round. Sock comes into the match with a 3-set win over Daniel Altmaier. Opelka is a heavy favourite for the title this week as he continues to prepare for the upcoming Masters’ events in the month of March in Indian Wells and Miami.