Coco Gauff’s coach Brad Gilbert has claimed it is “insane” that Novak Djokovic has just three US Open titles to his name. Djokovic is perhaps the greatest men’s player in tennis history, but the 23-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t dominated at Flushing Meadows in the same way he has at other majors.
Djokovic has won three US Open titles, emerging victorious in 2011, 2015 and 2018. However, the Serbian icon has lost in the final on six occasions. This makes the US Open his worst major in terms of final win percentage (33 percent) and number of finals lost.
While the 36-year-old’s Open Era record of nine final appearances – 10 after defeating Ben Shelton to reach Sunday’s 2023 final – is undoubtedly a stellar achievement, it is surprising he has not won more at Arthur Ashe Stadium. At the other hard-court Grand Slam, the Australian Open, Djokovic boasts a flawless 10-0 record in finals.
Gilbert, the coach of World No. 6 Gauff, believes the US Open is the most difficult Grand Slam tournament to win due to its physicality. He believes it makes sense that Djokovic struggles most in New York, but still expressed his surprise that the Serb has just three US Open crowns.
“It’s insane,” Gilbert told USOpen.org. “This is, to me, the toughest physical Slam to win. You have everything here, from extreme hot weather to it used to be way more windy in the stadium.
“This is a surface that kind of lends itself – if you’re a great player, you’re great on this surface. His story is not finished being written.”
Gilbert, the former World No. 4, has previously coached Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray before working with Gauff. The American will face Aryna Sabalenka in her first US Open final after defeating Karolina Muchova on Thursday night.
As for Djokovic, he is aware of his record at the US Open. He pointed out that no player has defended the title since 2008, giving credence to Gilbert’s views.
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“Well, I actually lost more finals here than I won in my career,” Djokovic said at his pre-tournament press conference. “My score in the finals of US Open is the worst of all slams I think. There’s some very close finals that I lost, some that I won. But generally I think the consistency of results here has been pretty good.
“I mean, I’ve played most of my US Open editions at least quarterfinals or better throughout the last 15 years. It could be the fact that it’s in the end of the season in a way. End of the Grand Slam season. It’s the last Grand Slam of the year. It’s been eight tough months of tennis for all the players.
“Maybe that’s the reason why you would probably see more surprises in this Grand Slam than maybe some other Slams. That’s the only thing that really comes to my mind. Yeah, nothing else.”
Djokovic is now one step away from adding a fourth US Open crown to his record. He is through to the final on Sunday after beating Ben Shelton in straight sets.
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