Tallon Griekspoor will face Novak Djokovic in the second round of the 2021 US Open on Thursday. The Dutchman registered his maiden main-draw win at a Slam by beating Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round.
In a conversation with ATPtour.com ahead of his clash against Djokovic, Griekspoor spoke about the challenge of facing the Serb on a hardcourt. He also expressed admiration for Djokovic’s rise to the top in an era dominated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Griekspoor and Djokovic will play in the evening session on Thursday at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The Dutchman called it a “dream” to be playing on such a big stage, and asserted that he would look to enjoy himself.
“That’s really crazy. It’s going to be really, really tough. That is probably the biggest challenge in tennis at the moment, playing Novak on a hardcourt,” Griekspoor told ATPTour.com. “But on the other hand, it’s probably going to be on Ashe, which is the biggest tennis stadium in the world. This is why you practise as a kid. This is what you dream of. It’s going to be really tough, but I’m going to enjoy it a lot.”
Griekspoor went on to marvel at Djokovic’s dominance, noting how the Serb has outdone Federer and Nadal to own most tennis records. The Dutchman also pointed out that Djokovic has been consistently brilliant for a very long time now.
“[I respect] the way he’s been at the top for so long. Rafa and Roger were there and he just came and basically destroyed every record in the book,” Griekspoor said. “The guy has been so solid through the years, he has been so good for so long. He’s just a legend of the game. It’s going to be very tough, but very exciting as well.”
“It’s such an honor to play those guys” – Tallon Griekspoor ahead of his clash against Novak Djokovic
Tallon Griekspoor has never faced a member of the Big 3 on tour before; Novak Djokovic is the first amongst the trio that he will lock horns with. Griekspoor has faced former Grand Slam champions Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray, but not at a Major.
During his conversation with ATP, the 25-year-old called it an “honor” to play a member of the Big 3 in a stadium as prestigious as Arthur Ashe. Griekspoor went on to claim that one of the main reasons he plays tennis is to get a chance to square off against players like Novak Djokovic in the big events.
“I really enjoy playing the big guys on the big courts. It’s such an honor to play those guys. They’re not going to be around for so long,” Griekspoor said. “This is why you practise. This is why you play tennis. This is why I play tennis: to play on the big courts against the legends of the game. I’m really looking forward to that.”