US Open: Serena eager to end calendar Grand Slam talk, Djokovic eyes second title

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Serena Williams has heard enough talk of her making history as she prepares to go in search of a first calendar Grand Slam at the US Open.

The legendary American stands on the brink of becoming the first woman since Steffi Graf in 1988 to claim all four major titles in the same year, a challenge that would be completed if she triumphs on home soil at Flushing Meadows for the fourth season running.

Maureen Connolly (in 1953) and Margaret Court (1970) are the only other women to have achieved the feat, so it is no surprise that Williams has faced such probing over her attempt to join that trio in the record books.

Williams won a second 'Serena Slam' when she claimed a sixth Wimbledon title in July and there was plenty of calendar Grand Slam chat long before she held the Venus Rosewater Dish aloft on Centre Court. 

The 33-year-old will also join German great Graf on 22 grand slam titles if she becomes US Open champion for a seventh time at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 12.

After winning the Cincinnati Masters last weekend, Williams said she is ready to let her tennis do the talking - with the tournament starting on Monday.

The all-conquering top seed said: "I'm trying to stay away from stress. I'm trying to minimise what I do, because I just want to play tennis.

"I don't necessarily want to hear about, oh, this history and that history, because I just want to do the best I can. I want to be able to win and I don't want any distractions."

She added: "Yeah, I'm ready. I don't care if I win or lose, or break even. I'm ready to start it, get it over with, and be done and go on to the next event.

"But I'm so ready for New York. Let's go, right?"

Such is Williams' dominance of the women's game it is hard to imagine her failing to pull off the calendar Grand Slam and if she does manage to do so, then the world number one will no doubt be happy to discuss history all day long. 

Williams, on a 28-match winning run at majors, will also surpass Chris Evert's record of US Open women's singles titles in the Open era if she retains her title yet again.

There will be no calendar Grand Slam for Novak Djokovic, but the Serb will attempt to win three majors in the same year for the second time in New York.

Djokovic responded to the disappointment of losing the French Open final to Stan Wawrinka by retaining his Wimbledon title, having regained his Australian Open crown in February.

Roger Federer looked capable of dethroning Djokovic on the grass at SW19, but the world number one put on a masterclass in the final against the Swiss as he proved he is still very much the man to beat.

However, Djokovic has only won the US Open once - back in 2011 - and suffered a surprise defeat to Kei Nishikori at the semi-final stage 12 months ago.

He also lost to Federer in the Western and Southern Open final last weekend, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion that the top seed will end a four-year wait to win the final grand slam of the year. 

Second seed Federer will be eyeing a sixth US Open title and his first grand slam crown since winning Wimbledon in 2012, while Andy Murray - the third seed - is out for a repeat of his success in New York three years ago.

It is difficult to envisage Marin Cilic defending his title, the Croatian having failed to kick on following his surprise victory last year.