A victory in the U.S. Open men's singles final Sunday...

A victory in the U.S. Open men's singles final Sunday would give Novak Djokovic a record 21st Grand Slam title. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Novak Djokovic has a handle on his situation, even if he doesn’t want to talk about it much.

On Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday, Djokovic will face Medvedev for the U.S. Open title. If Djokovic wins he will have achieved the calendar year Grand Slam, something that hasn’t been done by male player since 1969. That man was the Australian great Rod Laver, who will be in the stands.

That would also be Djokovic’s 21st Grand Slam title, breaking a tie with the revered Roger Federer and the adored Rafael Nadal for most ever. A victory will go along way to establishing him as the GOAT, greatest of all time.

Serena Williams came to the Open in 2015 in the same stratospheric situation after winning the Australian and French Opens and Wimbledon. But she did not want to talk about the winning the Grand Slam. She lost, rather bizarrely, to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals here. Djokovic won that year.

"I understand why she wanted to avoid all the questions about it because in the end of the day, you have to go out on the court and deliver," said Djokovic after beating Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday night. "You're expected to always win. For a great legend that she is, she always has that expectations from everyone, including herself.

"It's no different with me."

No player at this tournament is as battle-hardened as Djokovic. His career record in five-set matches in majors is 33-9. His fitness is unparalleled. He’s spent far more time on court at this tournament, playing 24 sets to Medvedev’s 19.

Djokovic’s Grand Slam run began by demolishing Medvedev in a three-set final at Australia. Medvedev said Djokovic had changed up his tactics from his previous matches. He also said he didn’t fully engage in the match.

"I always give my best, but I feel like I didn't leave my heart on the court in Melbourne," said Medvedev. "That's what I'm going to try to do on Arthur Ashe with hopefully 100% of fans."

With neither Federer or Nadal at the Open because of injuries, Djokovic has gotten uncommon fan support. It probably helps that there were no fans here last year when he was defaulted in his fourth round match for swatting a ball in anger that struck a lineswoman in the throat.

"I'm going to treat this match as it's my last one because it's arguably the most important one of my career maybe," said Djokovic. "Maybe not, I don't know. But of this year, for sure."

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